Tuesday, December 2, 2008

By Your Life, I Will Serve

I had need.
I have dispossessed you of
beauty, grace and life
I have taken your spirit
from its worldly frame.
No more will you run in freedom
because of my need.

I had need.
You have in life served
your kind in goodness.
By your life, I will serve
my brothers and sisters.
Without you I hunger and grow weak,
Without you I am helpless, nothing.

I had need.
Give me your flesh for strength.
Give me your covering for protection.
Give me your bones for your labors.
And I shall not want.

-Ojibwe Prayer to a Slain Deer

* * *

"Shoot your four-legged brother in the hind area, slowing it down but not killing it. Then, take the four-legged’s head in your hands, and look into his eyes. The eyes are where all the suffering is. Look into your brother’s eyes and feel his pain. Then, take your knife and cut the four-legged under the chin, here, on his neck, so that he dies quickly. And as you do, ask your brother, the four-legged, for forgiveness for what you do. Offer also a prayer of thanks to your four-legged kin for offering his body to you just now, when you need food to eat and clothing to wear. And promise the four-legged that you will put yourself back into the earth when you die, to become the nourishment of the earth, and for the sister flowers, and for the brother deer. It is appropriate that you should offer this blessing for the four-legged and, in due time, reciprocate in turn with your body in this way, as the four-legged gives life to you for your survival."

-Instruction to Sioux Hunters on Hunting in a Sacred Manner

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