As you begin this sacred path of Lakota ceremony, we orient you the the 4 Directions.Submitted by Smudge Pot on Tue, 02/18/2014 - 17:14
Wo-Lakota Om, Najum. I speak to you in the formal language but also in your language.
To the Sacred 4 Directions. To the Ones Above that see everything and to the Ones Below who always listen. To our ancestors. To the Generations. Please return the words to my mouth so that the oyate, the people will accept this offering aho;
Ralph did a wakan thing, a sacred and holy thing in his post about Lakota and the timing just seems right. This door has always been open to you but maybe it just didn't resonate or seem to have any utility. Ralph was not just telling you how bad things are at Lakota, Pine Ridge, Rosebud and the other lands, he was opening this door again and inviting you to join us on "The Red Road" or "The Way". The Road is simply a way of describing a process of spiritual growth and advancement and it's ultimate result might be said to have "self-knowledge". This self-knowledge is a process to help us understand our relationship to Creator, to the Earth, to the cosmos and all living things which we consider to be our Oyasin, our relations. Just like your nuclear family relations are a part of you, your past and your present and your future, we recognize this same relationship with all life, all the time, in ever place.
Now as you begin your journey on this sacred path, this road you should know that this is not a race and there is no finish line.
I have been on this road all my life and I have not completed the 7 Ceremonies, I doubt I ever will because our time is limited in this stage of life. But others do and they continue to instruct us. It's not quite like you get a merrit badge at each step, it's all about what's happening to you internally. But the road has a beginning if not an end and this is how you put yourself on it.
4 Directions Teaching. We are seated in a circle.
When we speak of a road it seems like there is a beginning and a destination like a line but this is not really true. We are seated in a circle of life, each having effect not only on those next to us but even on the other side or as energy flows through us and around and around. Time has a linear component but a circular one as well. We measure time in how the sun seems to circle the Earth (or the other way around, no big deal, same thing) and we see it in the cycle of birth, life, death, birth again. We think reincarnation has a lot to do with this, this cycle, this circle,
this is The Sacred Hoop. The Medicine Wheel. And it's not only how we chart cosmological time, the position of the stars, the change of the seasons, it's how we measure our personal internal time. Our own lives operate on this priciple: we are in a circular time experience but it seems linear from our perspective.
From there we try to organize things and literally orient you in a kind of quadratic way. The hoop is quadrasected. There's orientation, there's direction and each one of these directions has specific powers built into it. There is, for starts, gravity, there is up and down to us. Gravity is a pretty potent force right? Well it's one of the essential constructs or laws that govern our experience and it's pretty helpful in organizational terms but falling off a cliff is not known to be a good thing.
So you see that these powers are pretty palpable and "real". It's the Newton's apple thing right? The apple falls. Physics can tell you all about HOW the apple falls or HOW FAST it might fall given a number of numerical inputs but we're kinda deeper and telling you WHY it falls. And it's because of these constants like the 4 Directions which are always bound in the Sacred Hoop.
And we just go merrily on ascribing "powers" or "medicine" to these directions so here we go:
We always begin with the East. Wiyoheyapa. Eastern Power. Why? Because in our little circle, our internal Sacred Hoop, Eastern Power represents dawn, a new day in our lives, the opportunity for new knowlege and understanding, a new chance at life each day. That's why our doors traditionally all face East and all powwows have one gate, the East Gate and it's why a whole lot of other things. But now the hoop is activated again and the sun is already spinning around the circle clockwise (that's why clocks spin in that rotation) and the sun shifts into the South.
The Southern Power is Itocaga and it is warmth and growth for plants and healing for our bodies. It is golden sunshine literally and spiritually. The old band The Beach Boys were masters of the power of Itocaga with their music because they could literally put you on a beach in the sun no matter where you are on this planet. And this power is associated with productivity, making hey while your pastures are green and bountiful activity that results in health and well being. Fun in the sun on a bun is Itocaga and also productive efforts. But the sun don't stay in one spot, it's always walking and now she walks into the dark power, the Western Power.
Western Power, Wiyoheyapht'a. The dark power.
As the sun sets in the West and into Wiyoheyaptha there are some energies like lightning that brings light into darkness and the stars are revealed. We can literally SEE the cosmos. And it brings sleep and rest to our bodies but also sets our minds free to DREAM. As we dream we can leave our bodies and walk among the stars, we can fly, we can see the dead risen and talk to them and we can gain important messages from this cosmos into our own consciousness or subconsciousness. We can sometimes divine the future and gain prophecy or insight into our own lives (self-knowledge again). But some dreams are disturbing and lightning and thunder can be destructive so basically all clouds, all lighting, all rain, all thunder comes from this Western Power and if you look at sat maps of weather patterns on this continent, that's pretty much how it goes, from West to East. And the ride gets a bit wilder from here because Northern Power is kinda brutal in one aspect where Western Power was just desctructive sometimes (but beneficial in the long run like taking down weak limbs from trees so the tree and the forest is better off for it).
Waziya. Northern Power. The test.
Northern power is naturally winter, it's where cold comes from and it's a test: to the wise warrior or hunter that "made much meat" in the Southern phase (summer), Waziya, Nothern Power can be a time of reflection and introspection where we do creative things like make beaded head dresses and moccasins. But to the unprepared or foolish warrior it is lethal and brings starvation and freezing to death and it shows no mercy. The North Wind will blow right through you and it kinda likes it. This is the test in our lives and it's very real. But it has this flip side, hey we're preppers, we're planners and wise warriors so North Power also kinda gives us this inspiration to rise to challenges and overcome them and have the reassuring benefit of this.
And then it all starts again. Circle.
Now why is this important?
Because when you are oriented you can find your way. And this is The Way. As you begin to recognize and realize these powers in your life, you will become attuned to the flow of energy around the circle and your feet will lead you to the path or the opposite: the path will come to you. And you will find your way to The Pipe. Chanuppa-wa. The One Pipe. And that is the first of the 7 Ceremonies. And the Pipe changes lives. And it can change yours. And you are given power. And then you are bound to a people and the land in a new way and a PERMANENT WAY. In a it-never-goes-away way. It is power.
What is this power?
Self-knowledge. Understanding your relationship to the cosmos and to what is holy or wakan.
Now I have told you how to find the road or have it find you and I have oriented you. Now you know WHY there is gravity and directions and linear anything. And now you know that you are seated in a circle and how to make your life wakan. Sacred and holy. You are part of this circle.
Aho. Which in context means "yup, I done said what I said". Mitakuye Oyasin. In context that means "to all my relations" and that includes you.