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

There was an Indian brave who, when warned to take his family and leave because of the danger of an impending storm, says no. Instead he takes up his arrows and shoots them at the big black cloud looming over his home while his family is tucked safely inside. The brave uses the arrows not to stop the storm, but to raise his vibration in order to communicate with The Great Spirit. Of course, using his arrows, he and his family are spared.

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.

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