Posts Tagged ‘teachings’

A writing feast or famine!

Last week when driving through Utah I was reminded of a very special life changing experience Jerame and I shared in July of 2001 (I think that was the year). We went to spend four days at the Lakota Sundance Ceremony, a ceremonial weekend being lead by Lakota Elder Red Earth, my teacher and friend.

Approaching the Ogden exit I called Jerame and asked if I could share this and he agreed. Once again there are great lessons in the ways the weekend played out for us and most especially how “unrelated fears and pain of different people can and do have a physical effect in completely unsuspecting ways. Life is a constant learning and refining experience!

I do not have any photos to go along with the story therefore forgive the mass of words!

Sundance of Thanksgiving

The Sacred Fire burned. The Sacred Tree was in place. The dancers who had been in preparation for a year were anxious with anticipation, fear, power and honor. All the dancers, friends and supporters were required to pass through the gate to receive the ceremonial smudging with sage, the purifying smoke that frees impurities and negativity to the heavens of The Creator.

My son Jerame had joined me on the trip to Utah to experience the Lakota ceremony of Thanksgiving known as Sundance. In the beginning his reasons for coming were (1) to get away and (2) so Mum didn’t have to drive alone! The drive from Denver took us through the beautiful landscapes of Northern Colorado, fields with buffalo and elk grazing in Wyoming and into Utah. The camp site and ceremonial grounds were tucked away in a quiet, beautiful valley surrounded by craggy high ridges of small mountains filled with ancient and painful memories of village massacres and spiritual wisdom from the Ancestors.

After arriving at the camp, setting up and meeting with some other attendees, Jerame began to see power-plays between some on the young Lakota men and the white visitors. He became quite angry at what he saw as their unnecessary arrogance and rudeness, deciding he wanted to leave rather than have his buttons pushed! Several calming mother/son conversations later opened the way for Jerame to experience a weekend of many powerful awakenings.

The Sacred Ceremony of The Sundance represents the Native American tradition of Thanksgiving. This particular Sundance was being lead by my gentle teacher, Red Earth, a Lakota Sioux Elder who stepped into the position due the illness of Chief Richard Swallow Eagle, respected elder of other past Sundance ceremonies. It was an honor for me to learn and support my teacher during that difficult time.  Ceremonies such as Sundance, Ghost Dance and the cleansing sweat lodges had been forbidden for many years by both the government and “do good” Christian missionaries, all done under the guise of disempowering and saving the souls of savages. It is such irony that so many now seek to learn more of these ancient and earth-saving wisdoms.

The warriors who ‘dance in ceremony around the Sacred Tree’ are giving of themselves in gratitude for their lives and giving to impact the greater tribe, in essence, people from everywhere. To end the long preparation all the dancers have fasted for several days, having no food or water at all, this fasting continues until they have fulfilled their sacred Sundance commitment. For four days the power of this sacred experience as sounded through the beat of the Mother Drum which builds as each day the dancers who have chosen this path surrender themselves to the Sacred Tree. On the fourth day those who have chosen are pierced with small pieces of  bone through their chest or back skin and tethered to the Tree for as long as the journey of surrender takes. The dancers are surrounded and supported by family, friends, tribe elders and teachers, along with the Ancestors watching from the craggy rock walls surrounding the quiet valley. Each day is filled with several ceremonies, some lasting three hour plus at a stretch. The sound of drums, flutes, rattles and voices transport all present in ways they cannot avoid but be moved and changed so very profoundly.

As an energy healer and Reiki Master, I was honored to be asked to offer work with the dancers during their breaks, giving them an energetic boost and support as the days of fasting and dancing moved on. During these days I had two profound yet very different experiences to show me the power and unseen hold of emotionally energy and fear has on people, and to see the beauty and flow of new life energy.

Dancing Through Fear

The sound of drums began to die down as the Grand Entrance Dance drew to an end and dancers made their way to the cover resting space adjacent to the sacred circle. Some looked exhilarated, some dazed and still others exhausted yet there were still many hours and days of ceremony to go.

Red Earth had approached me and two other visiting women healers to help the dancers during these breaks. I was very honored by this request. Quietly I approached the first young man who was more than happy to receive a nurturing and tender boost to his energy. Just five to ten minutes was all that was needed most of the time. As time was short, Spirit turned up the power as I opened as a willing conduit. A couple of times my offer of help was refused and that was fine. I moved from man to man as the time allowed.

Then I felt a young man’s eyes seeking me out. “Oh yes please, I would be grateful of some energy!” was his response.

He lay on a blanket and I gently did my work. He drifted off to another place and then came back with a quick “thank you, work on someone else now”,ot up and moved away.

I spied a man in a chair about ten feet away. He did not look good, stress and fear oozed from him. He gladly agreed to my offer of help. Because of his exhaustion I said he could stay in the chair but after a couple of minutes he nearly passed out so I moved him to the ground. I knew something was very wrong with him yet no one else appeared concerned!

I began my energetic work on him. His fear was monumental yet I didn’t know why at that moment. As the drums started up again and the dancers moved out into the sacred circle, again his body began to freeze up. I called to another healer to help me. She moved to his feet and grateful follow my instructions. We worked in silence and in unison. The music in the background would come and go in waves of loudness. The man’s body would also respond in degrees of tension and fear and I still did not understand why.

All this time my back was to the circle of dancers so I could not see what was happening, I only heard the drumming and the songs. Again the drumming, singing and sounds of support grew louder, faster, louder, faster. And correspondingly the fear and tension in the man on the ground echoed. My helper stayed silent. I began to talk and coach the man through the breaths, to use the energy to move beyond the place he feared, a crescendo of drums, sounds and pain built, the combination of awe and fear kept us going, the three of us working as one.

I could feel the peak was coming and knew I had to stay calm and focused on the channel of energy being generated. The peak in the sacred circle was also being reached and suddenly out of nowhere drums and sounds of joy rang all around us. And at exactly the same moment the man shuddered, cried out and released what was holding him. His face was dazed and tears steamed from his eyes. I thanked God he was safe!

I turned to see what was happening in the circle, the sounds of joy and relief were everywhere, and then I saw why and I was shocked!

A young man celebrated his feat. Trickles of blood run down his back, yet the light of his faced was what I caught. On the ground of the circle lay two lengths of leather with seven buffalo skulls attached. I later learned that “dragging the buffalo skulls” is done by only a few men and represents “the dragging and finally releasing past generations held in pain, anger, violence, wrongdoing and death, giving thanks for their sacrifices and now for a new beginning.” The young man in celebration was the same young man who had searched me out earlier.

My attention returned to the man on the ground. He was quickly reviving. I shared what I had just seen and he began to cry, really cry which I allowed him to do. “I was so afraid for him. I was afraid of the pain for myself and I could not continue. And I was afraid of the pain for him. I let him down!” he sobbed.

Now the dancers were moving from the circle for a well-earned rest. I went to the joyful young man and asked if he would see his friend, he has something to tell you! Moments later these two men are hugging each other and crying. When the truth was shared more tears and the relief was palpable and affected more than just these two men. Healing was returning to the man who now sat on a chair in the shade.

“I need to share something else with you if I may” he said to me.

“Two weeks ago my father died and I have been in so much pain and fear of losing him ever since. I didn’t know how I could go through this without him and then after he died I couldn’t let him go. I was holding on so tight but now I know he is with me in a different way and I don’t have to fear or hold on!”

To say the least I was moved to tears also but for another reason. Alongside my son Jerame, we had been honored to witness the evolution of the warrior’s spirit through ceremony of song and dance, pain and joy, strength and vulnerability, fear and peace, holding on and letting go, of the male and the female balancing and supporting each other as needed.

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