I am sharing this Lakota Prayer (one of many) for its deep connection to Spirit. I hope you find it as meaningful as I have. ~Lynn Manyfires
I share the beauty and sacredness of a true Brother in Spirit, Aaron Paquette:
“For All My Relations…
Always Give before you take.
It could be a gift, the tobacco, a prayer, a song, whatever you have. Give first before receiving.
Always be Kind.
You never know the journey someone else has had to take, and they don’t know yours. We all have burdens. If we are kind we lighten all our loads.
Always be in Prayer.
Thank the Creator for your life and for all life on this beautiful Mother Earth. Our time is short, but we can make our mark last forever.
Always live in your Purpose.
If you don’t know what it is, then serve. Serve others and your purpose will find you. But serve as a warrior, not as a slave. Serve to strengthen others through your example; do not weaken them by doing everything for them.
Always Honor the Hoop.
We live together, we die together, we laugh together and we cry together. No one is higher, no one is lower.
Always speak in your True Voice.
There is strength in you the world has never seen. Show your strength. Build it. Use it to create peace and as a blessing to those around you.
Always drink clean Water
Water is Mother Earth’s milk. Drink deeply many times a day and clean your body.
Always exercise your Body.
You have been given a vessel to house your spirit. Treat it with the deepest respect and give it the gift of health, stamina, and endurance.
Always Sleep deeply.
Sleep long and sleep deep, for it is in your dreams inspiration comes. Give the Creator ample time to speak to you.
Always, always Love Yourself.
If you will find one good thing about yourself and another and another, you will learn to fulfill your purpose. And when you love yourself, you will know how to honestly love another.
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!
Walking thru the Ocean of Tall Grasses
Pushed by an Impish wind,
Creating wave upon wave of flowing green
A meadowlark’s clarion call,
Summons all to join him in this still and reverent moment…
And as the Giver of Light and Warmth
Slowly moves over the Smoky Horizon
Those that fly…and walk…and swim…
And those that grow upon the land,
Pause in still Gratitude for this moment of Rebirth…
The place of Hope
Of a New Day…of New Beginnings
Each morning a gift of Renewal and Trust
A time of Enlightenment seeping into the Soul…
Awakening the awareness of something more…
Something Greater than.
All who attend this Grand Coronation
The Radiance carried gently
From one to another.
Each gently drinking their fill
And then passing it onto the next.
For All share in this Sacred Light.
And when it has been bestowed upon All,
The Light flies to the Four Directions.
And a gentle Wind follows.
Called the ‘Breath of God’,
Its ‘fingers’ gently touching the faces of the Postulants,
Speaking to each of its Delight and Wonder.
And as it races away,
Intent on ensuring that All Know of its Love
A sigh of perfect Contentment rises to the Heavens.
And the Day Begins.
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
The first Sun Dance (Wiwanyang Wacipi) I attended was in Marty, South Dakota on the Yankton rez. I had come for my Naming Ceremony and knew very little about Sun Dance and what it represented and I was most grateful to be invited by my new friends. It was a powerful, heart-felt and humbling Ceremony for me. Til the end of my days, I will always remember my visions there. One of the most powerful experiences occurred on the 3rd day.
I was in this meditative state from singing and dancing for the last 3 days…when I happened to look to the West and saw a massive Thunderstorm building on the horizon and heading across the plains very fast. Having a deep affinity for the rain, I was torn between wanting the storm to come and not wanting it to disrupt the “Healing Day”, one of the most sacred days of the Sun Dance. As it drew closer, the storm began to blow the tall grass almost flat and small pebbles and branches blew into our faces.
The Intercessor (Sun Dance leader) asked us all to Pray that the storm would go around us. I did pray…hard…but the storm was so big and massive, I didn’t really believe it would happen. But I danced harder, lifting up my voice in song as the drum beat grew ever louder. I heard the faint cries of the People in the Arbor: “Ho Tunkashila…Ho Thate Topa” as the hail hit the camp grounds…hard! And then a great Wind came…and almost as one…the crowd held it’s breath….silence except for the wind and the trees blowing. And then, suddenly…the massive grey Clouds parted…and went around us! No rain or hail touched the Arbor circle. And once it passed us, the clouds closed up once again.
The Thunder Beings (Wakinyan) had heard our Prayers! We watched in awe as the fury of the storm flew on. And then a sudden surge of new Energy…new Life…flowed thru us all! We danced and Sang and Prayed with a Joy I had never felt in the entire 3 days. In Gratitude to the Creator for this amazing miracle, we raised our hands into the air and yelled as one “Wophila Grandfather…Wophila!”
(The Creator has ‘asked’ me to share my vulnerability…to be genuine about who I am and what I’ve experienced. While it is easy to share my joys, it takes all my courage to share those things I consider to be my weaknesses. But I honor what the Creator asks of me, for His wisdom is greater than mine. Perhaps by sharing the low points in my life, others can relate to the words, the observations that I share. And through that experience of sharing, we will know that we are all One. Haho!)
There is a quote (I can’t remember the author’s name) that says: “How can you discover new oceans if you never lose sight of the shore?” That caught my attention immediately! Just thinking on that simple thought put a whole new spin on what I’d experienced for the last 14 months. I had started referring to that time as “the punishment” or at the very least, “karma”. My close friends had subscribed to the karma theory because they had begun to think that I must have done something downright awful in a previous lifetime, something I had to atone for, to explain what I experiencing.
So, when I first heard that quote, my spirit did a serious double-take. “What if…”, I said to myself, “what if that apparent ‘fall from grace’ had been designed to help me discover my “new oceans”? Creator must have known it wasn’t going to be easy to get me to leave that previous ‘shore’ of what I had considered my ‘dream job’….a job where I was helping people, making a difference in their lives. No, it was going to be a real challenge to get me to walk away from something I loved doing. But He did know one solid thing about me…He knew I would listen and follow whatever He asked of me ..no matter how scary or deep “that fall” appeared to be.
Thinking on those words “deep fall” brought to mind how our Spiritual Relatives, the Eagles, teach their young to fly. Eaglets learn by observing their parents and when it is time for them to learn to fly and leave the nest for the first time, the mother will first demonstrate how to use their wings to lift them up. The Eaglets will mimic their mother’s movements and eventually take their first tentative flights to another branch below. Sometimes, however, one Eaglet is too afraid to attempt that first “deep fall” and just won’t leave the safety of the nest. When the mother feels the time has come for this young one to fly, she will place some food in her mouth and take a position outside of the nest and start to pump her wings in powerful wing beats. Up and down…Whoosh…Whoosh! As she tempts him out with the food, her wing beats start to disintegrate the nest with each powerful updraft. The Eaglet, drawn forward towards the food, and forced to leave a nest that is falling apart, eventually HAS to leave the nest…either to fly…or to take that deep fall. If he falls, she catches him and gently lifts him back to the nest. The young Eaglet, confident that his mother will catch him, eventually takes his first successful flight and begins the next chapter of his life.
We all have “deep falls” in our lives…some deeper than others. We may think, as I did, that because the fall took us right down to the ground, that we were being punished for something. As our “nests”, our lives, started to disintegrate, we believed erroneously that we were no longer important or cared for. When in reality, the Creator was just teaching us how to ‘fly’ for the next chapter of our lives. We had to develop and strengthen our ‘wings’ to give us those powerful wing beats to lift us up from the ground so we could soar to greatest heights of our lives!
Whoosh! Whoosh! May your ‘Wings’ lift you higher!!