Re: Sioux Vision Quest
- --- In email@example.com, medit8ionsociety
>interesting, certainly beyond anything I've experienced..thanks for it !
> J and Westwind's sharing of their meditative
> in-sights brought to mind this Native American
> inner transcendent experience.
> Before I could go on my vision quest, I had
> to purify myself in the oinikaga tipi, the inipi,
> the sweat lodge.... With the buffalo-horn
> ladle, Good Lance poured ice-cold water over the
> red-glowing stones. There was a tremendous hiss as
> we were instantly enveloped in a cloud of
> searing white steam. It was so hot, it came like a
> shock wave upon me...
> I dared not breathe; I thought that if I did I
> would burn my lungs into charcoal. But I did not
> cry out. I just stuck my head between my knees.
> Good Lance prayed. He used ancient words, "This steam
> is the holy breath of the universe. Hokshila, boy,
> you are in your mother's womb again. You
> are going to be reborn." They all sang two songs,
> very ancient songs, going way back to the days when
> we Sioux roamed the prairie. Suddenly I
> felt wise with the wisdom of generations. These men,
> my relatives, sang loud and vigorously.... The little
> hut was shaken as if in the grip of a
> giant hand. It was trembling as a leaf trembles
> in the wind. Beneath us the earth seemed to move.
> "Grandfather is here," said Good Lance. "The
> spirits are here; the Eagle's wisdom is here."
> We believed it; we knew it. The pipe was passed....
> Four times we smoked. After the last time,
> Good Lance told me, "Hokshila, you have been purified;
> you are no longer a child; you are ready now and
> made strong to go up there and cry for a dream."...
> Our vision pit was an L-shaped hole dug into
> the ground, first straight down and then a short
> horizontal passage deep under the roots of
> the trees. You sit at the end of that passage and
> do your fasting. A grown-up man fasts anywhere from
> one to four days... in my case, it was
> decided that I should stay up there alone without
> food or water for two days and two nights.
> [After some preparations] it was time for me to
> strip and go down into the hole. My father and uncle
> wrapped me in a star quilt and tied me up
> in it with a deer hide thong.... They patted me on
> the back, mumbled some encouragements, and left me there.
> The first hours were the hardest. It was pitch
> dark and deathly still. I sat there without moving.
> My arms and legs went asleep. I could neither hear nor
> see nor feel. I became almost disembodied, a thing
> with a heart and wild thoughts but no flesh or bones.
> Would I ever be able to see and hear again?... I don't
> know how long I sat there. All sense of time had
> left me long ago. I didn't know whether it was day or
> night, had not even a way to find out. I prayed
> and prayed, tears streaming down my cheeks. I wanted
> water but kept praying. Toward evening of
> the second day--and this time is only a wild guess--
> I saw wheels before my eyes forming up into one fiery
> hoop and then separating again into bright,
> many-colored circles, dancing before my eyes and
> gain contracting into one big circle, a circle with
> a mouth and two eyes.
> Suddenly, I heard a voice. It seemed to come
> from within the bundle that was me, a voice from
> the dark. It was hard to tell exactly where it
> came from. It was not a human voice; it sounded
> ike a bird speaking like a man. My hackles rose...
> "Remember the hoop" said the voice, "this night
> we will teach you." And I heard many feet walking
> around in my small vision pit. Suddenly I was out
> of my hole, in another world, standing in
> front of a sweat bath on a prairie covered with
> wildflowers, covered with herds of elk and buffalo.
> I saw a man coming toward me; he seemed to
> have no feet; he just floated toward me out of a mist,
> holding two rattles in his hand. He said, "Boy,
> whatever you tell your people, do not exaggerate;
> always do what your vision tells you. Never pretend."
> The man was wearing an old-fashioned buckskin outfit
> decorated with quillwork. I stretched out my
> hands to touch him, when suddenly I was back inside
> my star quilt, clutching my medicine bundle of
> stones and tobacco ties. I still heard the
> voice, "Remember the hoop; remember the pipe;
> be its spokesman." I was no longer afraid; whoever
> was talking to me meant no harm.
> Suddenly before me stretched a coal-black
> cloud with lightning coming out of it. The cloud
> spread and spread; it grew wings; it became an
> eagle. The eagle talked to me: "I give you a power,
> not to use for yourself, but for your people. It does
> not belong to you; it belongs to the common folks."
> I saw a rider on a gray horse coming toward me, he held in
> his one hand a hoop made of sage. He held it high...
> and again everything dissolved into blackness. Again
> out of the mist came a strange creature
> floating up, covered with hair, pale, formless.
> He wanted to take my medicine away from me, but I
> wrestled with him, defended it. He did not get
> my medicine. He, too, disappeared.
> Suddenly somebody shook me by the shoulder.
> "Wake up, boy." My father and my uncle had come for me.
> The two days and two nights were over.
> Native American Religions. Leonard Crow Dog, Sioux
> Vision Quest