Musings of the Chronologically Challenged™ Fourth Generation
Thursday, February 27, 2003
CIRCLE OF NATIONS
Occasionally, I have used my blog to share excerpts from John Two-Hawks' Circle of Nations newsletter. You may have seen them before. Even those who are not familiar with Native American religion and customs should get a feeling of inner peace from John's very touching words. I always do, and that's why I have wanted to pass his wisdom along. (e.g. It may bring you a greater understanding of John's spirituality, if you don't already know this, to know that Wakan Tanka is Indian nomenclature for God. If anyone is offended by this, there are other links here at the right which may be more to your liking.) This month, however, John's offering is so especially meaningful (to me) that I am posting it in its entirety. Even the SOUTH message from Peggy, John's wife. As you will see, she is the "marketeer" of the family! LOL Please take a few extra quiet moments as you read NORTH in order to absorb and enjoy the feeling of peace that will surround you.
Hau to all my brothers & sisters around the world....
Welcome to all new Circle members! Each section of the Circle of Nations newsletter is written 'facing' one of the four sacred winds, beginning with the east, then the south, west and finally the north. This is to honor the old ways. It is to teach and to help us focus and find the center. I have designed the Native Circle website in the same spirit. I welcome you all to the Circle....
EAST - Wiyohinyanpata - Yellow (Four Winds)
Tonight, I sit here in my square house and wonder.... Wonder what this ol Indian guy is supposed to think.... Wonder what this ol Indian fella is supposed to feel.... or say.... or do. Sometimes I just wanna turn away from it all and go hide in my tipi.... wish for a better day.... dream of a better time. Sometimes I just wanna be just an ol Indian. Peace marches, war drums beating, nuclear threats, pollution.... Mother Earth's pain screams out to my Indian heart like the sound of bullets ripping through the soft cover of an old, warm lodge. Death, dying, loss.... What am I to say to her? Tears flow as I sit here, wondering.... wondering. I grow weary of semantics. Words.... phrases.... paragraphs.... sentences. Wovoka, the Paiute holy man, told us the vision.... Creator took him to the sky.... showed him a new world.... Creator knew our pain, our loss.... Gave us the Wacipi Wanagi (Ghost Dance).... We would stop fighting the "white man", who had taken everything from us.... Make peace. We would dance the dance.... see our lost relatives. And we did. The vision said to us.... keep dancing.... for peace.... for love.... and the day will come when the earth will be rolled under like a carpet, burying the genocide, the destruction, the hate, the war, the pollution, the unnatural.... The vision said to us.... the buffalo will roam again, and the old ways will return. The land will be pure again, and the meek.... the earth keepers.... shall walk upon it once again. Free.... Free.... Free.... Sometimes I close my eyes.... and I am there. I smile.... I cry.... even now. Yes.... I am tired. Weary of politics.... Sick of ignorance.... Fed up with foolishness. I want this cold, concrete, skyscraper, computerized, plastic, painted up, fiberglass, glamorized, carnalized, logicalized, desensitized world to melt away like an icicle on a warm spring day. I want to wake up in my old simple Lakota lodge with my sweet wife and daughter and discover, with joyful tears, that it was all a bad dream. But it is not. I try to turn my back and walk away, back to just being a simple Indian, back to the old times.... but I cannot. For when I turn away, I hear the cries of little children.... the weeping of elders.... the pain of mothers.... I hear the babies, seven generations from now, asking us to save their world. And I turn around. This is my time. I am Lakota now. Not then, or someday.... now. I will never forsake the power of the old ways, or the value of the old times. I carry that power and those values with me as I walk my path in this time. I carry them like a torch.... a light in the darkness of a confused and mixed up world. I carry them like a healing balm for the wounded souls of humanity. I hold up the beauty and power of the old ways like a banner of hope. The 'old ways' of my people.... Respect.... honor.... honesty.... compassion.... humility.... wisdom.... patience.... selflessness. The ways of Spirit. Yet I could really use the solitude of a small fire crackling inside my warm lodge.... a thick blanket wrapped around me.... the gentle trickle of the nearby creek.... If I could talk to my great grandmother tonight, I would tell her, with tears, that the old times are gone. But that love, like the wind, lives on.... When all else is gone, love will remain. The old ways, which are so strong, will always be with us. And though I have my tipi and spend time in it.... and pray with the sacred pipe.... and offer my smoke to the wind with an eagle feather.... and spend much time sitting quietly, listening to the breath of Mother Earth.... and, in my spirit, live as close to the old times as I can.... I honor my path and know that this is my time. And so I offer my medicine. And my prayer is that the child, seven generations from now, will know a better world than I have known. Sometimes I wonder. Sometimes I wonder....
SOUTH - Itokagata - Red (Red Earth)
A note from Peggy....
Hello friends, there are several things that I want to share with you this month. First, I want to thank all of you for your prayers. I felt them as I was healing from my auto injuries. I am feeling much better and I must admit that the time of rest and quiet gave me new perspective and new strength. I am a person who is often very busy and sometimes too task oriented. Some of you wrote me wonderful insights on the message board, you spoke directly to my Spirit. Life has its dark moments, there are cold days and sometimes unfathomable sadness and the only answer I have is....... sometimes it is just that way. Thanks for being there for me!
I wanted to tell you a little about the new Nuwati products that we have added. I have used them all and am very convinced of the healing energy in the teas and the bath salts. I hope you will give them a try. The healing tea is very powerful and I am particularly hooked on the take my pain away bath salts. These are not flowery "smell good" bath items........they are real Cherokee plant medicine and they work!!
Many of you have asked me to save space for you at the Mending Medicine Retreat, please send in your registration forms so I can count you on board for the retreat. Make sure you state on the form that you want to reserve time with John Two-Hawks and/or reserve a massage. We have limited places available for the massage with Poco and the free consultation with John, so I am numbering them as the registration forms come in.
Last but not least, I am very excited to tell you that Four Winds Trading Company has begun to do distribution for John Two-Hawks music. So please, when you go to your local American Indian retail stores tell them they can now order Heal, Good Medicine and Traditions from Four Winds Trading!
We now have our 2003 schedule up and we will continue to update it as new venues come on board. John is steadily in the studio working on his new Christmas CD "Peace on Earth". How appropriate this title is for our times. You know that John and I are true lovers of Peace! Please continue each day to pray for peace. Continue to think and love for peace. Peace must start in our hearts and overflow into the world. It may seem futile sometimes but I know that it is not!! Tiny drops of rain wear away the greatest of stones. Don't give up, be kind to yourselves... laugh..dance.... hope... and above all love!
WEST - Wiyohpeyata - Black or Blue (We are STILL Here!)
I have some great updates coming for this part of Native Circle! Keep your eye on the site!
I named this section 'We are STILL Here' for a reason.... Do you know that I once had a class of children ask their teacher to bring them down to meet me because they thought "all Indians were dead"? Yes, thanks to hollywood movies, bad western shows, bad art and government propaganda, the real face of Indian people has been erased from the eyes and minds of most Americans and replaced with a fantasy stereotype. In the USA alone, there are well over 500 Indigenous Nations. Each of these 500+ distinct groups of people are unique in their customs and traditions. This uniqueness applies to facial and physical features as well. Yes, it is safe to say that not all Indian people, then or now, looked like Sitting Bull! My Grandfather used to tell me about Tacunka Witko (Crazy Horse), who is part of our tiyospaye (extended blood family). He told me that Crazy Horse (the 3rd by that name) was grey eyed and fair skinned with brown hair. This, with no non-Indian blood in his veins. I have heard very old stories of Indians with red hair. A Muscogee Elder once shared with me that there have always been "blue eyed Muscogee Indians". I've seen very tall Apaches and very short Lakotas. I've seen Indians with thick mustaches and curly hair. So.... my point in all this is, Indian people are probably walking past Americans at Walmart every day, but because they're not dressed like the Indians on TV, riding a horse down the produce aisle and spearing veggies with a painted face like the ridiculous stereotypical Florida State mascot, real Indians are invisible to the mainstream American public. Yes, that's right. Real Indians are invisible. At the 'Race Talks' during the Clinton era, guess which ethnic group wasn't represented? American Indians. It's sad, but it's true. The propaganda of America has made it very difficult for people to accept, and see, the 'many faces' of the American Indian. So, the next time you find yourself at Walmart (which is the 'Indian store', by the way *wink*), take a look around.... The guy with the t-shirt reading the hot rod magazine.... Indian? The lady trying to decide on a box of hair color.... Indian? The short haired, shirt and tie man in the checkout aisle.... Indian? It is time to put a new face on Indian people in America.... a real face. A visible face.... Maybe then, classes won't have to come and see me anymore thinking "all Indians are dead".
NORTH - Waziyata - White (Words of Wisdom)
This too will pass.... The heavy snow is hanging on the cedar trees.... They bend over under its pressing weight.... accepting.... waiting.... strained.... Drip by drip, the snow begins to melt.... Bit by bit, the weight lessens.... Not quickly.... Very slowly.... Hours.... Days.... This too will pass. Everything in nature seems to understand this truth. Some of the smaller saplings may perish, but most will survive. This is the natural order. It is the ebb and flow of life. It is the perfect will of WakanTanka. In time, the snow will subside.... The cedars will lean for a while.... Then, little by little, they will straighten back up. No 'quick fix', just total acceptance and understanding of the true 'time' of Mother Earth. The 'second' is a relatively new invention you know. Mother Earth doesn't care about your Timex. You see, Spirit time is much, much different than 'clock time'. Mother Earth, the planets, the moon, the seasons, the gentle, steady and gradual cycles of life all move at a pace that most humans have lost touch with. Folks, although we are highly adaptable creatures, we were never meant for the speeds we live at today. This speed separates us from everything that matters.... the pitter patter of raindrops on the leaves of trees.... the pitter patter of little feet.... the screech of a redtail hawk.... the cries of a newborn baby.... the gentle rustle of wind through the grass.... the gentle touch of a loved one.... a flower blooming on a warm spring day.... a daughter blossoming into a lovely young woman.... the bubbling of water in a fresh stream.... the bubbling laughter of a child.... These are the things this hasty pace separates us from. We must slow down.... Tune back in to the real ebb and flow of life, not this new break-neck, human-made version. Sit sometime with a newly blooming flower. Watch it closely as it very, very slowly unfolds. Did you see it move? Most likely not. But it moved. This is the real pace of life.... The real pace of change.... The real pace of healing. Look at your daughter or son. They blossom very, very slowly. You may not even see it happen. But it will. And trust me, this too will pass. That's right. This too, will pass. Be sure to slow down so you don't miss it....
My sisters and brothers. As you know, long before all this talk of war, I have always been a champion for world peace. My prayers for peace are much more than a reaction to the current political climate, and I hope you all will continue, with me, to work and pray for the mending of the sacred hoop of humanity. I thank you for your ear, and hope my ramblings have been led by Spirit, that you may find a personal blessing. May WakanTanka encircle you with faith to believe, hope for the future and love for all....
In the spirit of mending the sacred hoop of the nations of the world,
Your Oglala Lakota brother & friend,