In A Sacred Manner
By Madis Senner

 

 

“The native prophecies from all lands … speak of major changes… They speak of people who will survive, human beings who will want to take a sacred path in harmony with the earth… Wise people will know what to do and will move in a sacred manner to make the changes necessary for their own survival and for the survival of others.”1

Major earth changes that Sun Bear and Wabun Wind talked about almost twenty years ago are playing out. The polar ice cap is melting, bees are dying and some ecologists say that we are close to a tipping point where we cannot reverse the effects of global warming. The world is most certainly close to the brink.

Sun Bear and Wabun Wind say there will be survivors who will help themselves and others because they will know how to move in a sacred manner. So how do we begin moving in a sacred manner to save ourselves and Mother Earth? While there are many interpretations of what it means to move in a sacred manner, I think it begins by being aware of your spiritual footprints (thoughts and actions), both good and bad, and making an effort to focus on the positive. Each thought we have and action we take leaves an impression on us and upon Mother Earth.

When we think and do bad things we bring more of the same into our lives and into the world. Conversely when we think and do things out of love and compassion, we not only bring that into our lives, we bring it to others and to Mother Earth as well, facilitating healing. Controlling your thoughts and focusing on the positive in a sacred manner will help reduce the mental pollution you create with negative thoughts.

The Native Americans talk about doing things in a “sacred manner,” particularly ceremonies and efforts to connect with the divine. This means your intention is focused in a way that gives honor, respect and love. Black Elk in Black Elk Speaks and The Sacred Pipe talks about doing things in a sacred manner. In preparing a purification lodge as part of lamenting for a vision, Black Elk says, “In a sacred manner you must also gather the rocks and sage.”2

Black Elk tells us that sacred manner includes blessing and honoring that which one takes to create the purification lodge: “First you should build an Inipi lodge in which we shall purify ourselves, and for this you must select twelve or sixteen small willows.

But before you cut the willows remember to take to them a tobacco offering: and as you stand before them you should say: ‘There are many kinds of trees, but it is you whom I have chosen to help me. I shall take you, but in your place there will be others.’ ”3

The act of honoring the willow tree that has been cut down helps reduce the consequences of destruction by counterbalancing it with a positive thought and action. It is a far cry from our modern-day world where it is all thoughtless take, cut, burn, excavate and various other forms of destruction. We should always try to avoid the negative, but if something happens we should counter it with a positive thought, or prayer.

A further glimpse of sacred manner comes from Black Elk when talking about how we should always keep in mind and honor Great Spirit and Mother Earth: “It is the Earth, your Grandmother and Mother, and it is where you will live and increase. This Earth which He has given to you is red, and the two-leggeds who live upon the Earth are red; and the Great Spirit has also given to you a red day and a red road. 4 All of this is sacred and so do not forget! Every dawn as it comes is a holy event.”5

For example, when the Tree of Peace (white pine tree) we had planted on the shores of Onondaga Lake (Syracuse, NY) died and needed to be replaced, my Mohawk friend, John Sardella, said the process should be done in a sacred manner. I removed the dead tree and then brought it to his home.

A sacred sweat lodge was held honoring the tree and using it to fuel the fire that heated the rocks. Then there was a period of grieving before the new tree was planted. Finally John led the ceremony for planting the new Tree of Peace.

Doing things in a sacred manner means applying thought to what we do and how we think. It is about honoring God and Mother Earth, and all of creation. When we do things in a sacred manner we give greater strength to our thoughts and actions. We help foster healing, love and the unity that tugs at our soul.

The above article was adapted from The Way Home — Making Heaven on Earth (pages 194-195) by Madis Senner, due out with O-books in December. Visit: http://www.o-books.com/product_info.php?products_id=639

Footnotes:
1. Sun Bear and
Wabun Wind, Black Dawn Bright Day, A Fireside Book, New York, 1992; 29. 2. Joseph Epes Brown, The Sacred Pipe, Black Elk’s Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 1953; 48. 2.Ibid. page 48. 3. John Epes Brown notes that “the red road” is that which runs north and south and is the good or straight way, for to the Sioux the north is purity and the south is the source of life. This “red road” is thus similar to the Christian “straight and narrow.” page 7 4.Ibid., 7.

Madis Senner maintains www.MotherEarthPrayers.org, an educational website about Mother Earth, her subtle body and soul.

 


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