Excerpt: “It was about that time, that the Grandfather next to me spoke in my ear. With gentle Compassion in his voice, he whispered that when the heat became more than I could bear, to lie down upon Mother Earth, for that was where the cool air was, and that Mother would show mercy to one whose prayers were true. His last words were “When it gets hot,” he said “Pray harder.”
“‘The Red Road ain’t for sissies!’ I was caught off guard by the brother’s firm statement as he sat with his eyes focused distantly on the horizon. He had been silent up to that point as I had ‘whined’ about the many things I found archaic and impossible in these ways. I stopped mid sentence, hurt at the insinuation that I was a sissy. I felt like a scolded child. I started to come back with a smart comment but the sting of tears in my eyes caught me by surprise and I kept silent. The brother dropped his eyes to the ground and continued, “I felt the same way as you growing up in these ways. I lived with my Auntie and Uncle and I resented them for insisting that I go to the Ceremonies.”
On Amazon now: CEREMONIES OF THE RED ROAD
“There will come a time when the Earth grows sick
and when it does a tribe will gather from all the cultures of the World
who believe in deed and not words.
They will work to heal it.
They will be known as the “Warriors of the Rainbow”.
~ Cree Indian Proverb~
The Cree tribe tells of an old woman named “Eyes of Fire”, who prophesied that one day, because of the white mans’ greed, there would come a time, when the fish would die in the streams, the birds would fall from the air, the waters would be blackened, and the trees would no longer be, mankind as we would know it would all but cease to exist.
There would come a time when the “keepers of the legend, stories, culture rituals, and myths, and all the Ancient Tribal Customs” would be needed to restore us to health, making the earth green again. They would be mankind’s key to survival, they were the “Warriors of the Rainbow”. There would come a day of awakening when all the peoples of all the tribes would form a New World of Justice, Peace, Freedom and recognition of the Great Spirit.
According to Manataka American Indian Council, “the “Warriors of the Rainbow” would spread these messages and teach all peoples of the Earth or “Elohi”. They would teach them how to live the “Way of the Great Spirit”. They would tell them of how the world today has turned away from the Great Spirit and that is why our Earth is “Sick”.
These Warriors would give the people principles or rules to follow to make their path light with the world. These principles would be those of the Ancient Tribes. The Warriors of the Rainbow would teach the people of the ancient practices of Unity, Love and Understanding. They would teach of Harmony among people in all four corners of the Earth.
Like the Ancient Tribes, they would teach the peoples how to pray to the Great Spirit with love that flows like the beautiful mountain stream, and flows along the path to the ocean of life. Once again, they would be able to feel joy in solitude and in councils. They would be free of petty jealousies and love all mankind as their brothers, regardless of color, race or religion. They would feel happiness enter their hearts, and become as one with the entire human race. Their hearts would be pure and radiate warmth, understanding and respect for all mankind, Nature and the Great Spirit.
They would once again fill their minds, hearts, souls, and deeds with the purest of thoughts. They would seek the beauty of the Master of Life – the Great Spirit! They would find strength and beauty in prayer and the solitude of life.
Their children would once again be able to run free and enjoy the treasures of Nature and Mother Earth. Free from the fears of toxins and destruction, wrought by the Yo-ne-gi and his practices of greed. The rivers would again run clear, the forests be abundant and beautiful, the animals and birds would be replenished. The powers of the plants and animals would again be respected and conservation of all that is beautiful would become a way of life.
The poor, sick and needy would be cared for by their brothers and sisters of the Earth. These practices would again become a part of their daily lives. The leaders of the people would be chosen in the old way – not by their political party, or who could speak the loudest, boast the most, or by name calling or mud slinging, but by those whose actions spoke the loudest. Those who demonstrated their love, wisdom and courage and those who showed that they could and did work for the good of all, would be chosen as the leaders or Chiefs. They would be chosen by their “quality” and not the amount of money they had obtained.
Step forward, Warriors of the Rainbow…help our Mother Earth…help The People and All Relatives upon Mother Earth!
I dreamed that I came from a planet covered almost entirely by the Sacred Trees. For Eons, these Sacred Ones taught us the wisdom and traditions of many faiths from many planets. Long ago, it became our duty to carry these teachings throughout the stars to many nations. We have traveled far and sometimes, we have forgotten where our Home is. It is then that an Elder of our people will send out a ‘call’ to help us find the path home. Last night, I heard the ‘call’ and found my way home. 3 Elders stood on a platform of living trees and as I floated towards them, I noticed that they all wore a kind of turban and that their noses looked Mayan in nature. The Elder in the middle, folded his arms and nodded towards me, saying “Good! Now you know how to get Home. Do not forget.” And immediately, I was bounced back to my bed. The first thought that came to my mind after I awoke was “I am not from here! I do not belong here!”
My experience with the Redwood Elder that ‘spoke’ to me years ago is known. He told me that humans were beloved ones of the Standing Tall Ones. That they had seen us grow over the centuries and that we used to sit at their feet and listen to what wisdom they had to share. I was told much that day and it was given to me how to understand the Trees by how they communicate with us…and with each other. When I asked why was this the first time I had ever heard a Tree speak, the Elder said that, like our children, the younger trees had to ‘learn’ how to speak before they could talk to us. From that time on, I could hear the Standing Tall Ones speak to me in my dreams. Recently, a friend from “across the pond”, Gail, wrote to and told me that every time she saw a Tree, she would think of me and she gave me a new name:
It feels right and true…for I Honor the Standing Tall Ones!
The following is my opinion only…
The first time I went into an Inipi…’sweatlodge’ (and I write about this in my book)…everyone spoke their Prayers aloud. Having been brought up a Baptist where our Prayers were unspoken, I worried that I would be judged on how I spoke with the Creator. What I heard that night humbled me and brought a new awareness to my soul. The Elder who poured the water that night told us that the spoken Word has power and he spoke of a quote in the Bible that states “In the beginning was the Word”. He told us that when we speak our Prayers aloud, it goes out into the world to be Created. That’s when I began to hold the idea that it was important to know what was in the hearts of The People by listening to our Prayers. I have this idea that speaking aloud what is in our hearts, can inform us what it is we TRULY think and feel. Some years later, I came to know another Elder that poured one of the most beautiful, one of the most loving lodges I ever experienced! In his lodges, I connected with the Creator in a very real and Sacred way. He would briefly share a teaching at the beginning/end of each door but most of the time he invited us to Pray/Talk with the Creator in the deepest way imaginable. He told me later that he felt it was his duty to provide a safe and Sacred place for us to Pray. That he felt ‘guided’ by the Creator to let each of us talk with the Creator…to truly share what was in our hearts. I owe much to these two Elders for this teaching because…for those who pour water and talk and talk and talk…all I hear is them…I cannot hear the Creator for all the ‘noise’. I came to know a long time ago that in our ways, we don’t need a “middle-man” to speak for us with the Creator. We all have a direct connection to the Creator…and sometimes all we need is the opportunity to hear and honor what is in our hearts by our Prayers. This is good for the Community as a whole. Yes, we have all needed the guidance of the Elders…and that will never change…but at a certain point, it is good to walk, and be guided by, the Creator directly. I, Lynn Manyfires, speak this in a good way…hetcetu. Haho.
Looking back, I guess I was always destined to follow a spiritual path…it was just a matter of which one. I remember lying on my bed when I was 10, reading a book on Joan of Arc (for which I won an award for the fastest reading of a book). I admired her courage, her faith and was horrified that the God she obeyed and listened to, would let her come to such a horrific ending. But what astounded me more is that she was ‘told’ she would come to that end…and could have walked away but didn’t. Creator had given her a mission and that mission required that she die. As she burned in the flames, I cried deeply…the sorrow lasting for many days.
I remember wanting to be a Nun…apparently, a common ‘call’ with most of my female spiritual friends. And when I started dating in high school, I was drawn to the boys who followed a religious path. I think I was ‘shopping’ even then to find where I fit in, spiritually. But ultimately, Creator did not ‘speak’ to me thru those ways.
And then in my 30’s, I heard the ‘call’ of the Lakota/Nakota ways (the Sioux). Thru a series of coincidences and chance meetings, I was given the opportunity to learn their true teachings. My spirit was captured by the way they honored Mother Earth by trying to live in balance; of how they spoke of walking in a good way with the Earth and with each other; and of the Honor, Respect, Courage, Generosity and Compassion they lived by. These teachings not only gave me a strong spiritual foundation but ultimately they gave me what I had always wanted since I was 13…I wanted the Creator to speak to me.
…and so it happened, in a variety of ways: thru dreams, visions and spoken words.
In the mid-90’s, I was “guided” (pushed was more like it) to purchase a rather large book on Tsunka Witko (Crazy Horse). I was deeply into the ways at that time, praying and talking with the Creator several times a day. I began to have out-of-the-body experiences which were always stopped by a “parental” energy, as if I was a child, not ready for that yet…probably because about that same time, the Dark Ones started to take an interest in me. But more importantly, I was beginning to experience more and more contact with the Creator and with spirits.
I wasn’t really interested in purchasing that book. I honored and admired Crazy Horse but in a distant sort of way. Long story short, I ended up buying the book and learned a great deal about him. For a man who faithfully served for the good of The People and walked in a humble way, he suffered a great deal. I felt great compassion for him at the loss of his wife and young child and that he had been killed not by the whites but by one of his own people. 2 nights later, Crazy Horse came to me in a dream. It felt as if he talked to me the entire night but I remember little of what he said. There was one thing I did remember when I awoke: “Be careful what you ask for.” I thought at the time that perhaps he meant that I shouldn’t desire to be like him…and also, to pay close attention to words I spoke. I took those words to heart and always took care when speaking about what I wanted.
Crazy Horse has been on my mind of late…along with Joan of Arc. Two people I admire for their courage, their faith and their dedication to the Creator. Two people who ended up dying in terrible ways for that dedication. I have been feeling hurt, angry and resentful lately. In the mid-90’s, I told the Creator that I would serve him and The People. And I have been true to my word. One year at Sun Dance on the 3rd day, He gave me my Mission: “Tell others to Pray.” This I have done and continue to do…along with the duties of being a Cannunpa Yuha (Pipe Carrier), I serve The People.
So it was, when 3 Grandmothers came to me in a dream in Dec 2010 and gently asked me to quit a job I loved…after 2 weeks of praying hard about it, I did. Four years later, having lost my home, traveled to 5 states and 11 cities looking for work, had my family turn their backs on me, homeless on the streets for 6 months…I still struggle with no job and no income. And worst of all, I’ve lost hope that the Creator will ever return what I had to sacrifice.
I wish I had known the context of what Crazy Horse was sharing in that dream. I realize now that he wasn’t talking about me wanting to be some great spiritual leader. He was cautioning me to be careful in asking to serve the Creator and The People. And from all that I experienced, perhaps he was right.
Many winters ago the people received a gift called the Talking Feather. I will share with you the story of how this came to pass. When the call came to the young mothers in the village to take their baskets and gather the fruit and berries, the old grandmothers, whose legs had lost the fast walk and sure foot of the doe, were left to care for the young children. The mothers honored the grandmothers by giving them this responsibility on those days.
It is believed that the young children have many dreams and visions to collect before they are grown. They were given a bit of sleep in the warmth of a darkened lodge before Sun has traveled his full path each day. Now let me tell you what happened on one of these days.
Crow and Magpie, two of our noise-making winged ones were having a terrible argument outside the lodge of the sleeping children. “Caaaw-caaaw” screamed Crow. “Kaaack-Kack” yelled Magpie. They were both speaking at once and they could not hear each other’s point of view on the subject of which tree belonged to which bird.
Now first one of the grandmothers asked Creator to quiet the voices outside. This was easier than going out to take care of it herself. But Creator let the grandmother know that it was her job to go out and scare off the birds. You see, Wakan Tanka knew that a great gift was coming to the people and he wanted the grandmother to see it happen. When she could not get the attention of the screaming Crow or yelling Magpie, she called on Eagle, most Wakan (sacred) of the winged ones. “Oh brother Eagle can you chase off these two noisy ones so our children can still dream”, asked the grandmother.
With a might flap of his wings and a leap from the limb he sailed towards the noisy pair. He gave a call of warning to the Crow and Magpie as he came close, but they were so busy fighting they did not even hear him. When Eagle saw this he yelled louder and came closer, and that is when it happened.
“Caaaw-caaaw, Caaaw-caaaw”, Crow screamed as he flapped his wings in the air so hard he nearly fell off his perch. “Kaaack-Kack”, yelled Magpie as his wings too flapped up a storm. Suddenly they both felt the contact of a sacred Eagle wing and saw a feather fall as they froze in mid squawk! Oh my, what had they done? Crow swooped down and caught the feather before it landed on Mother Earth. As he came back to the branch he heard Magpie speaking to Eagle.
“Oh brother Eagle, most Wakan of our family we did not hear you so near. I am truly sorry for the injury I have caused you.”
Crow was surprised to hear such an honorable thing come from the mouth of this rude neighbor. He held the Sacred Eagle feather in one claw and spoke with dignity. “I have many times been a naughty bird but brother Eagle I think this may be the worst I have done in many moons. I am very sorry for this bad thing I have done.”
Magpie was shocked, could this be that unruly Crow who spoke such wise words? Crow handed the feather to Magpie so he could give it back to Eagle. As Magpie took the feather their eyes met and with no words at all they both knew that this mistake would not have happened if they had not been fighting. Magpie spoke as he took the feather and said, “I am ashamed, brother Eagle, that my loud talk and harsh words were more important to me than solving our problem.” He looked to Crow for a sign of understanding. Crow took the feather back from Magpie and said, “We have disturbed the two-legged children and torn from your wing a Sacred Feather and now we return it to you with a request for your forgiveness.”
Eagle had watched all this with wise eyes and an open heart. He knew the lesson of listening had been learned by his little brothers and he saw that the grandmother looked on with learning eyes also. So he said to Crow, “Give my feather to the grandmother so that she might dress it with beads and leather and fur to make it even more beautiful. Let her keep it in her lodge and teach others to create this fine looking feather.” Eagle said, “We will call this sacred item a Talking Feather. You have seen its power, grandmother. Tell all the people that when they come together for Council Fires or at any gathering where ears might be shut, to bring out the Talking Feather and let only the holder speak. This will be done in an honorable manner letting everyone have his say. Begin with the highest ranking Elder and pass the feather until all have spoken.”
“When the feather is held with its back to the listeners and the inside curve to the speaker he will hear his own words first as they come back to him. This will help to tame the harsh tongue of the two-legged. If disagreements are still between two people they will turn the feather away from themselves so the words can go straight to the one they are at odds with”, explained Eagle. “When all have spoken a vote can be taken and the side who gathers the most votes will make the final decision”, said Eagle.
As Eagle spoke these words Crow brought the feather to the grandmother. She was honored to have learned this lesson and she brought the feather to her lodge and every grandmother from that day on has told this story and helped the young ones to make Talking Feathers. And the young ones dreamed of the days when they would make important decisions with the help of the Talking Feather.
– by Jenny Ray