Thursday, May 7, 2009


An old story says that men and women were created to serve the sacred powers. "Therein lies your happiness..." go the words of the chief guiding power of the creation: Skan, the sky-father and creative power of the world-order. It was the spirit called Wisdom that he set to the task of bestowing upon the first humans intelligence, and teaching them language, and how to live wisely, to please the sacred powers.

The first men and women, it is said, lived in the regions under the world, and ate the white fruits of those places. The sacred powers that combined to become the mystery of their true origin were many; Nothing comes to be without the combination of many sacred powers. Nothing persists without the participation of many sacred powers, in the present; when powers diverge, they are still sacred and they move back into new combinations of mystery or the incomprehensible (wakan). The system of life is sacred, and it is all. It is what we have and what we are.

The true nature of all things is wakan or sacred, incomprehensible. Is there a more liberating idea, born in the truest of all organic traditions, that of the animistic well of life? We are free to enjoy the experiences of our senses and minds without burdening ourselves with endless argument, labeling, and fruitless categorizations and discussions. To embrace the incomprehensible is to become flowing and alive- not trying to capture anything with words, but being flexible and in touch.

If you can melt the ice that often comes to cover your heart, you will re-enter the stream of warm, living incomprehensible forces that flow, rage, create, vanish, arise, fall away, destroy, endure, and love. We are all part of a true dance of powers, and none can deny this who understand. Is there any need for anything else? What religion could add to this sacred way of being?

The following story is true: it is a prayer of honor for the Sky.

* * *
Great Skan, Father first and foremost,
You have placed Sun very high,
Made Sun the Great Above,
Placing him above the blue dome of yourself.
Sun governs the two times; you have made it so.
You are the source of power and spirit;
You keep this authority through all time.
You are with the superior wakan,
The four powers that are Great Wakan:
Rock, who was first;
Earth, ancestress of all things on the world,
Sun, light and warmth,
Sky, father and shaper.
Many wakan relatives exist
Alongside you and the sacred powers.
In the regions under the earth,
The sacred powers were gathered by you, Skan
To create a servant fit for the mysterious kin.
For yourself and for all the sacred powers
Were man and woman made, the Pte-oyate!
From Rock, you took the substance of bone,
From Earth, you took what was needed for flesh,
From the waters you took what was needed for red blood,
The power of Beauty,
Who carries all prayers to you and the sacred powers,
She brought the white fruits of the world below
And from them, you made the entrails of men and women.
Two figures you created from these things,
Sacred mother and father,
The mother of mothers was made in the image of Beauty,
The father of fathers in the image of the Cunning one.
To each you gave a spirit
That is like that of the Great powers, but lesser in force;
From within yourself you took a spirit
And made of it a gift, a spirit to guide all men
And women through life and to the afterlife.
To each of your good shapes you gave a living power.
Sun you commanded

To give the gift of warmth to the people you made:
Thanks to Sun, each of us is warm.
Wind you commanded
To breathe into each of them the breath of life,
Thanks to Wind, each of us has that ghost of breath.
Without understanding the first living people were,
Until you commanded Wisdom to bestow intelligence,
And teach to them language-
A gift we have never forgotten.
The Great Thunder-powers who give increase and growth,
They were there in the below:
You commanded them to give to man and woman the gift
That makes them healthy and growing,
And drives them to make offspring.
To Moon, you gave the task
Of planting in man and woman affection for each other,
And it was so-
Men and women still seek warm embraces.
To Beauty, you entrusted the task
Of placing a longing in men and women
To cherish and love their offspring.
That longing has grown in us ever since!
And it was so, from that time to this,
Before the first people and their offspring
Came to live in this world above.
Before they came
From the great below to this world,
This is how they were made,
And how all the wakan powers are still part of us.
No power dwells alone; all are kin.
To serve the sacred powers is to recognize them;
To wisely recognize what we receive,
To wisely recognize what we owe, and what we can give back.

All my relations.

* * *
The story given above is written by me, with information drawn from James R. Walker's "Literary Cycle", from Lakota Myth. It illustrates well in mythical language what the wise of the world, from every part of the world have always known- we are one with all things, made by all things, for all things, and one another.

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