It is late. I really must go to bed. Yet, feeling the call to write. Something.
Posted this, this morning on Facebook:
“long, long, long day yesterday… left Ontario early, crossed border at Niagara with no mishap (was greatly fearing my camping eqpt would be thoroughly searched, instead was waved through), midday book signing in Tonawanka, NY on outskirts of Buffalo, NY, played with teeny-tiny orphaned kittens at store with signing, headed to Rochester to p/u my sweetgrass plants (did not want to risk crossing border with them), then straight shot south to home. home. got in at 11:11pm. go figure. it is good to be home. love to all. sundances (supporting them) are life-changing experiences. ah… now back to full re-entry. Xoxo”
And… I’m yearning to not go back to my habitual lifestyle here. The one I had before I left for Sundance in NYS. I don’t really want to spend this much time on a computer and would rather be out collecting herbs and fresh veggies and wild-crafting mullein and juniper berries and more. As my friend Ron and his wife Julie does up west of Niagara in Ontario. I spent some time with them just two mornings ago, looking for mullein and St. Johns Wort, in the wildness surrounding their simple home.
The stone heart from the nearby Lake Ontario beach that I found two years ago while visiting them, still sits on their woodstove. I was so humbled to see it there.
I’d like to still hear the beat of the big Sundance drum that resounded off the hill and through the trees so the Sundancers could feel Earth Mother’s heartbeat through it, as they stepped their way for four days of no water and no food… looking more and more parched and haggard as the days passed. That is where I was for the past Weds through Mon am. (To learn more about the Lakota Sundance, click here.)
This Sundance, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. Not sure I’ll ever be completely able to do so. It’s the heart that has been wrapping around it, beyond reason and logic. I cried and cried there, for a better part of two afternoons. Was so spent, so exhausted from lack of sleep, waking up at dawn to watch the sun rise completely on the first morning, as the dancers came out that first morning. And each morning following.
I mean, how often do we watch the sun rise completely? From pitch dark to full rise, and bright long shadows under the gaze of the very wise and ancient sun. How often?
Not often enough in my book.
Then there was Charlie, who woke up us each morning close to 5, I guess. I don’t know what time it was really. I refused to look at my alarm clock the whole time. And the cell phone was buried in my purse.
There is a book written by my good friend, Evan Pritchard. It is called No Word for Time. We had no word for time there. Charlie woke us up as the Sundancers were in the sweat lodge sometime before sunrise. A wildly off-sounding rooster call echoed from Charlie as he banged a drum and circled the broad cluster of tents that we, Sundance supporters, called home for those few days.
There is so much more I could share. The kindnesses. The giving. The stripping of cedar for smudge all day, and my consequent broken fingernails. The prayers, and more prayers. And even more prayers.
Sundance is intense. And I was drinking and eating mucho all day. It was still intense. I can’t imagine what the Sundancers were going through.
As empathic as I am, I guess maybe I was imagining or feeling some of it. I could not sleep that well at night in my tent with my sensitivities. So many tents relatively close to me and emotions swirling. When the Dance was over and final meal had (Wopila), it was much easier for me emotionally. The emotional intensity in the whole area had calmed and I was no longer absorbing it as a sponge. Such lessons for me.
Such love too. There was so much love there. Such commitment to giving, to serving, to honoring the Sacredness. To honoring women on their moontime in the Moon Lodge. To community. To tribe.
My only complaint was there was not enough chocolate. ;~) It would have melted in my tent anyway. I survived that sacrifice. If the Sundancers can survive their fasting from water and food. I could survive no chocolate for that period of time.
And tomorrow, I will don a tutu and go to a women’s networking meeting to promote Sacred Silliness in the form of a Sacred Feminine Play Day… and another approach to sacredness and healing, and joy. So many ways to touch the Divine.
So many ways to honor Mother, the Great Mother.
And now it is time for me to go to bed. Yes.
Love to all.
ps. I asked a rather brilliant friend on FB to share more on the Sundance. He is part Mohawk and Haudenoshaunee/Iroquois (sp?). This is what he sent me late last night:
suggest quick route to understanding a little more than the words can describe..look for a Richard Harris film…”A Man Called Horse”… be prepared to watch it in one sitting..in quiet, consider it a medicine event and weigh the historical accuracies later.
the specifics of Sundance: induced trauma of physically and mentally challenging levels ..objective is to recreate similarities approaching the near death experience. it’s what happens IN the near death experience that determines the result..i.e. do we have an Avatar here that can be a greater help to the tribe in our moment of crisis?..
the “medicine” is seeking to open doors to the multidimensional authorities for guidance as to purpose and allies here in three dimensional reality…serving the larger purpose of the authority from which we all come.
the “tools” have been for millennia plant allies..those that wash “the doors of perception” the peyote, the mescalin, the Oracle of Delhi and the sweat lodge pipe. (Huxley, Watts, Wilson, Lilly et al in western science” and the shaman, the brujo the dreamwalker, in the aboriginal world).
the visionquest and the quiet withdrawal to seek understanding of the allies or the Sundance in the extreme and the allegory of the Kristos speaks to the same truth..that no shaman EVER led or guided and counselled who had not been through either by accident or by intention that life in the balance moment of a near death experience.
the near death and out of body event that MAY be triggered by the physical pain and the various “medicine” parts of the event are to re-connect the Spirit consciousness with the “avatar”..the human body..it’s obviously not going to work for everyone..but the continued effort by the tribes who over the millennia have used such things..the Chrisitan myth is based on such things..i.e. the story is larger than most Christians, especially the Pope want to talk about..
more to this than mysticism and religion..this is the “physics of immortality” and stone age psychology that few can grasp.. all of it speaks to the simple truth..in words of my own tranlsation that I owe gratitude to Black Elk for..that we are One Blood serving One Force and responsible for one planet. everything around that, language, religious texts is the obfuscation of religions and heritage..our struggle to define these things is ephemeral cultural rhetoric.
understand the Sundance through Dr Kenneth Ring and Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s many works in the “Omega Project”..the academic struggle to define the near death and out of body events common to about 3% of the population..what such experiences do to the human consciousness..the resulting operating paradigm, the personality..
the Native American medicine is one thread of discussion of it….of the “eastward and western movers.”