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Uli Lindemann sucks an iced latte and squints in the sun as he tries to talk about his life in the Deer Tribe. Lindemann, 36, is tall and lean. His long, thinning hair is pulled back in a ponytail, its color a perfect match to the yellowish-orange tobacco stains on his fingers and teeth. Gregarious and confident when teaching self-defense classes twice a week in the Deer Tribe dojo, Lindemann is guarded and visibly nervous when talking about Reagan; each word seems like another step through a mine field.
Lindemann moved to Phoenix in 1995 to be near a woman he met on the Internet. The relationship imploded and, shortly after, Lindemann found the Deer Tribe.
He's not sure how to respond to the question of whether he shares Reagan's views on immigration. Lindemann's parents emigrated from Germany, and he spends an interminable silence choosing his words before slowly saying, "I think immigration should be handled in a wise way. What is a wise way is a very tough question."
As he sits at a small cafe in a Paradise Valley mall, Lindemann is having trouble controlling his emotions, and soon tears are rolling down his face, spilling out of his narrow blue eyes when he's asked who his heroes are. "The Dalai Lama . . . and Swift Deer," he says, wiping his cheeks with the back of his hand, his voice barely audible over the booming bass of a car stereo out in the parking lot. "Swift Deer taught me how to love."
Literally, it seems, as well as figuratively. Lindemann is a veteran of the Quodoushka sessions. He glances down at his latte, blushing, and will only say that "it's a very powerful experience."
Ina "Laughing Winds" Gregory is short and Rubenesque, with long dark hair and saucer-like blue eyes. She favors chunky jewelry and earrings the size of canaries. Gregory says she had no idea of her orgiastic potential until Reagan showed her the light. Now, in addition to her private practice as a sex coach and therapist, she is a "Phoenix Fire Woman," trained by Reagan to teach Quodoushka sessions around the country. Gregory says she takes a hands-on approach. Her goal: to "help create greater intimacy and help people become multiply orgiastic using different muscle groups, organs, energy and breathing techniques." She hawks her skills in the back of New Times.
In her "Q sessions," Gregory shows men and women where the G-spot is located, she trains women to ejaculate, and she informs her students that some people in this world are omnisexual able to achieve a full orgasm by simply hugging a tree or laying on a boulder. She pulls out a book full of close-up color photos of vaginas (she calls them "tipilis"), with animal names next to them, and compares the sizes of the labia and the locations of the clitorises. Different-shaped tipilis require different techniques to achieve orgasm, she says. "A lot of people never realize this." She wishes young children were taught these things in school.
"Q was the biggest of all accidents inside this path," insists Reagan,, shaking his head. "I have no idea why in the world it became so blown out of proportion. We have gotten more P.R. and more publicity on Q than anything we do."
Perhaps in part because Reagan and Gregory appeared on a titillating segment of HBO's Real Sex in 1992, touting Quodoushka as a Cherokee ritual (though they now are careful to clarify that it is a blend of many ancient sexual traditions). Then-president of the Cherokee Nation Wilma Mankiller threatened to sue HBO for misrepresentation, and a resolution was passed by the Cherokees condemning Reagan and other so-called "plastic shamans."
Dr. Allen of the Cherokee Nation says simply, "He's made it up. We learn about sex like everyone else does, behind the barn."
Allen estimates that Reagan is one of the most successful of the nearly 200 people he receives complaints about for falsely representing themselves as Native Americans for lucrative purposes. "The only thing that we can attribute it to is that there is a particular need for people to experience a new form of spirituality and religion. The traditional churches are failing. Look at what is going on in the Catholic Church now. It's ironic, really."
He adds, "Two hundred years ago, you people were trying to kill us. Now you think we have awesome powers and are mysterious, and you want to be like us."
Reagan really doesn't see what all the fuss is about. "[Quodoushka] is basically just plain, simple information that, if you were born in a matriarchal old tribal society over a hundred years ago, you . . . woulda learned by the time you were 10, 11, 12 years of age, right prior to puberty," he says. "There's no sexual intercourse, there's no oral or any other type of actual engagement, other than breathing," Reagan adds firmly. "The closest contact would be me picking you up and setting you on my lap, setting you in a cross-legged position and breathing through the chakra centers, or the energy centers, together."
Among Reagan's most active critics is the American Indian Movement, which began condemning the Deer Tribe and holding protests outside Quodoushka seminars 10 years ago. Al Carroll, a graduate student at ASU and an AIM member, protested outside the Q ceremony Lucy attended in Scottsdale this spring.