In Native American cultures, The Great Spirit is a deity intertwined with the fabric of the Universe itself on the large scale and yet personally engaged with the web of living things and the world on an earthly scale. I am creating a spiritual practice by borrowing a little from the Buddhists and the practice of mindfulness, but mostly from the strong connection I feel for the worship of Earth as taught us by our first nations. For those who hunger for the connection of a spiritual practice from someone who is learning to braid her own.
Monday, July 13, 2015
Selecting your arrows
Our Shaman insists we all must know our arrows; those tools that, in our hands, raise the vibration it takes to contact Great Spirit and Pacha Mama. His are tobacco, sage and his rattle. Through the days that followed I watched this man beckon spirit using each and every one. I suspected right away that one of mine is sage. I love the smell, even the ritual of burning it while spreading the smoke to all parts of the group and each body, even over meals.
Our assignment--"go to your altar, raise the vibration so you can be heard, and figure out how you will save yourself first"--before you act on behalf of Pacha Mama.
Upon arrival I offered a large pinch of tobacco and launched into my prayer of gratitude about the light and photos I have been blessed with, and the grace to allow me to connect even though I am awkward. I placed the tobacco in a small indented circle in the rock and poured the water into another tiny stone bowl to make a silver dollar-sized pool that disappeared in an instant in the thirsty desert surface.
"I am embarrassed I don't even know how to pray," I admitted. "But I know how to use my voice." Yoga taught me to "Ohmm," and while I knew it wasn't a native thing to chant, I started ohming. When I raised my voice across the small canyon some syllables came in my head.
Ma tee O
Ma tee O
I said them aloud, and repeated until the sound rang true. A moment later came:
Ma cee O
Ma cay O
I put these together and started chanting. When it felt like enough I sat silent. I chanted again when the time felt right and stopped and sat when that felt right. The wind blew in gusts around me.
I laid down in a relaxed fetal position on the rock bench that extended from my altar and put my ear on the rough, flat surface. I listened for her heartbeat but wasn't disappointed when I heard nothing. I knew it would take time to gain trust and tune in.
I tasted the rock. It was flat and dusty. I commenced the chant. And then I just laid there content on my Mother's lap.