The Medicine Wheel and My Spirit Flag is South

I was married just a week when Melissa, a good spiritual friend of mine, called me one day and asked if I’d be interested in joining a tipi talk, medicine wheel evening with John Two-Hawks, a Grammy award winning musician and his wife, Peggy Hill at their home near my new mountaintop home in the Ozarks. Melissa said she thought I would get a lot out of it, and especially Kevin, my beloved new husband, who has a very nature based belief in God, Source, and Creator.  I immediately said, “YES! But let me confirm with Kevin, first.”  Kevin was immediately enthusiastic, and we signed up to be one of a total of nine people on June 27 in Two Hawks’ medicine circle, learning the Lakota ways, the Lakota beliefs, and how we must live with Mother Earth in a respectful way.

We arrive at Two Hawks’ tipi and are escorted to a circle around a not yet ignited camp fire for introductions and small conversations. Two Hawks appears dressed in  his Lakota Medicine Man hides and beaded chest coverings with his hair braided back. I am in immediate awe of his calmness. I am glad we are here in his and his lovely wife’s presence on their land, Creator’s land, about to have a spiritually filled night. Kevin and I learn that  the home of the Lakota is a tipi is not spelled with “e” but with  an “i” and that the medicine wheel is one of contemplation, prayer, and connection to spirit. Two Hawks teaches us the Lakota way of prayer ties, the path of red or the path of black or blue in life which we much choose, and how to construct a prayer tie properly with a pinch of tobacco and simple cotton cloth in one of the four colors–red, yellow, white, or blue.  We all make a red prayer tie to honor the nine recently killed victims in the St. Louis hate based church shooting and one more for a personal prayer. Kevin and I choose yellow for our prayer ties to represent new beginnings, new love, future.  The prayer ties each of us did for the shooting victims are in red, for blood, passion, and forgiveness. The powers we have as humans are to change, to evolve toward love and compassion. The Lakota knew this century before, and the prayer wheel represents a union of all races and all beliefs, as Two-Hawk explains each color’s significance. We adjourn from the introductions and are instructed in prayer ties, and begin our entrance after a sage smudging into the prayer circle walk.   As I walk around the stone enclosed prayer circle, stopping at each position to feel the peace, I look to see where I will tie my prayer ties to overhanging branches, In front of the next to last direction, the white prayer flag, the point of spirit, south’s sacred vibration, I feel my heart buzz and expand in my chest. There is not a doubt in my mind that this IS my place in the world.  I am happy and circle once more to the overhanging oak branches at the entrance, which is East, to place my prayer tie for those who died in the shooting, and then again I circle to the pines near the West  and the South prayer flags, representing the storms of life we must overcome, to place my yellow prayer for a good future, half way between the South and the West, as I see my marriage, so many storms passed, and so much “new life”  —spiritual life after the death of  my former dreams. It is all good, and Creator blesses us with a conversation and very touching historical talk from Two Hawks, a campfire song in Lakota, and his flute music filling our ears and hearts with love.

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Lakota Medicine Wheel

Medicine Wheel

The medicine wheel is a sacred symbol used by Plains tribes and others to represent all knowledge of the universe.

The medicine wheel consists of a circle with horizontal and vertical lines drawn through the circle’s center. Sometimes, an eagle feather is attached in the wheel’s center.

Design Meaning
Circle – The circle represents the sacred outer boundary of the Earth often referred to as the Sun Dance Circle or the Sacred Hoop. It represents the continuous pattern of on-going life and death.

Lines – The horizontal and vertical lines represent the sun and man’s sacred paths, respectively; the crossing of the two lines indicates the center of the Earth where one stands when praying.

Feather – The eagle feather is a sign of Wakan Tanka’s – the Great Spirit’s – power over everything.

Color Explanation
The directions, as they are called upon in the medicine wheel, are often associated with a sacred color. Each direction has a messenger.

Color placement on the wheel varies based on individual band customs.

East:

  • Color – Yellow
  • Messenger – Brown Eagle
  • Associated with the sun, brings light to all creation.
  • Because the sun travels east to west – in a clockwise manner – all good things conform to the same pattern.
  • The Morning Star – the star of wisdom and new beginnings – comes from the east.
  • Elk people call the east home.

North:

  • Color – Red
  • Messenger – Crane
  • North is home to winter and is believed to promote good health and growth.
  • Those who misbehave look to the north for the wisdom needed to walk a straight path again.
  • Home to the Calf Pipe Woman and the buffalo people.

West:

  • Color – Black
  • Messenger – Black Eagle
  • Connected with the power of rain and the purity of water; joy and growth follow the rain, releasing ignorance.
  • West is home to the Thunder-being. His wings produce thunder and lightening flashes from his eyes. The bird-like being stands again evil and ensures the respect of others.

South:

  • Color – White
  • Messenger – Bald Eagle
  • Associated with warmth, happiness and generosity.
  • Connected with life after death, directs men as they walk toward the next phase
  • Life begins in the south.
  • Nourishment of every kind comes from this direction.
  • Home to the animal people.

– See more at: http://aktalakota.stjo.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8592#sthash.52c8wIi8.dpuf

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Don’t Live in Fear

The one thing I have really learned these past years as a single person and continue now to learn as a married lady (never in my wildest dreams did I suspect that I’d be married again) is that one must never live in “fear” in life.  When I say that I don’t mean that a person should go out on a limb and intentionally put herself in danger or be blind to another’s motives. One should always be cognizant of the issues of life with the forces of negativity on this planet. However, if one’s calling is to work with impoverished inner-city children in a dangerous neighborhood, then one should follow her calling.  If one has the impulse to go to Europe and has the means, then one should go. The traveling and the exploration of this world are not to be feared but embraced.  Does that mean bad things don’t happen to people? No, that is not what I am stating. I am proclaiming that if the human race is to evolve, love, not fear, must be the driving force in life. To stay at home and not take chances is the worst one could do in any circumstances. The real growth comes with facing the unknown and allowing oneself to conquer the initial anxiety and move toward the calling, the emotion of love and compassion and sharing those with others.

So, my advice to students or young people I have met and will continue to meet in life is to go explore one’s calling, one’s passions, one’s desires in this world. When a person knows himself well enough to do these things, then the entire human race moves forward with that person’s growth.

Aside from the Zombies

I see things as I wish to percieve them, and often as not, the vision is one of illusory and confused temperment, at best. Doctor W tried for a long time to get me back in the groove of the beautiful warm seductive comfort of therapy. The problem with that beautiful comfort is that at some point, the mental weather warms, and the down filled comforter of therapy becomes too much of a burden of heat, a sweat that is not purifying or purging like my big tall Shaman Matt’s sweat lodge in Cutbank, Montana, but a sweat a that drips into those places I do not ever wish to visit for any reason, at all. My golden eagle can soar without the necessity of cover, or over the top comfort.

Sure, the memories are buried in my mind. The therapy presents that with little doubt. That is, in my mind, where they belong, buried. I don’t need a zombie apolcolypse to realize that these memories would at best be flesh eating, destructive monsters. I spent the good years of my childhood erecting the castle and the multiple versions of my princess self to defend against the zombie invasion, my  personal egocentric dragon breathing fire at the flesh eaters as they attempted to scale the wall of my pink castle. That castle can stay, can stand, can solidify into the present moment of now. The comfort and the heat of therapy’s down filled fluff can be packed away in the cedar chest at the end of my mother’s bed.

Thank you, Dr. W, but no thank  you.