Thursday, December 18, 2008

Circles, drums, centering

I am up a little late today; too many late evening church meetings this week. My little corner of the world this week was dominated by work on the St. Paul's budget for the coming year. We will have good year, but there are choices to be made. More on that in another blog. Oh, and Christmas is almost here. How did that happen so suddenly? A little centering quiet prayer and meditation might be in order.

Let me take you somewhere far away for that. 

I don't know how many of you have been to a pow-wow. I have. The clans and tribes come together for a few days of sharing flat bread, meals, talking and drumming. Mostly drumming, near as I could tell. I went to a pow-wow a few years ago in central Nevada with the Shoshone-Paiute tribes. The picture here is of a Shoshone drum. Below is an old saying from Black Elk to bring you to the center.

From Black Elk Speaks
By Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa), Oglala Lakota Sioux, 1863-1950

Perhaps you have noticed that even in the very lightest breeze you can hear
the voice of the cottonwood tree; this we understand is its prayer to the Great Spirit, for not only men, but all things and all beings pray to Him continually in differing ways.

For the Great Spirit is everywhere; he hears whatever is in our minds and hearts,
and it is not necessary to speak to Him in a loud voice.

Since the drum is often the only instrument used in our sacred rites,
I should perhaps tell you here why it is especially sacred and important to us.
It is because the round form of the drum represents the whole universe
and its steady strong beat is the pulse, the heat, throbbing at the center of the universe.

It is as the voice of the Wakan-Tanka, and this sound stirs us
and helps us to understand the mystery and power of all things.

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