A Patteran for others to follow.

I’ve always been fascinated with Gypsies. There are so many stories, tales, and legends about these traveling people. My favorite story is about patterans.

Gypsies (known as the Roma in Europe) had a unique method of communicating with fellow travelers. At a crossroads, Gypsies would build a small pattern of twigs, leaves, or grass. This was called a patteran and would guide the following Gypsy bands for the direction of their travel.

Patteran is a term most of us are not familiar with. The dictionary defines a patteran as  “a handful of leaves or grass thrown down at intervals by Roma (Gypsy) people to indicate their course.”

As I stand at the crossroads of a new year called 2023, I want to leave some patterans for those who follow. Here are several I’ve jotted down:

  1. Love. Love leads us, lifts us up, and is always welcome. I will choose to be more loving in this new year.
  2. Kindness. Always be kinder than necessary.  Everyone needs a good dose of kindness, and we can each spread it.


  1. I want to leave the patteran of integrity. “Integrity is who you are when no one is looking, and what you are willing to stand for even if you’re standing alone.” It’s a trait that sticks out in the 21st century.


  1. I want to grow spiritually. If we neglect the spiritual side of our life, it is to our own peril. The growing man or woman is always maturing spiritually.


These are some patterans I hope to leave at this crossroads called life. I bet you’ve your own list. Write them down. Share them. Live them.


Yours for the journey,


Curt Iles


“Follow the Roma patteran

  West to the sinking sun . . .

Follow the cross of the Gypsy trail

  Over the world and back!”

“The Gypsy Trail”

 Rudyard Kipling

One of my favorite Louisiana books is Patteran: The Life of Paul Leeds.

Rev. Leeds was a pioneer circuit-riding preacher in Southwest Louisiana.

Learn more at


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