Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dream of White Buffalo Calf Woman

Last night I dreamt that as a female elder of an indigenous North American tribe, White Buffalo Calf Woman appeared to me and presented several sacred, material gifts for the tribe--these in addition to her previous, ancient gifts of spiritual and practical teachings. The gifts were a beautiful, room-size rug woven in earth tones and blues that told a story to the tribe, a small, exquisite, intricately woven rug, a three-foot painted, carved wooden likeness of herself, and a plain black metal (iron?) ladle.

I then presented the gifts to the tribe and we placed them in the longhouse with a consecration ceremony. The large rug was laid near the meeting space, the small rug was hung on the wall in a prominent location, the statue was set in a Northeast corner, and the ladle was put to use for soups and broths made over the main cooking fire. My people loved the gifts and were constantly turning to them, offering gratitude, acknowledging their sacredness, and receiving their comfort and great blessings.

The ladle was used daily with great appreciation, eventually showing normal signs of wear.

After a time, though, the people started losing site of the sacredness of these gifts. They no longer cared for the large rug, trampling into it ashes and fire-black, wood debris, dust, and dry leaves and grasses. So I quietly took on the care of the rug, sweeping and shaking it alone. I began to feel concern for my people and reminded them of the sacredness of the rug. I hoped and prayed that with patience they would truly remember.

Then I discovered that the sacred statue had become oily, dented, and worn, and its paint flecked, from repeatedly being handled in a rough, playful manner, rather than with the respect it was due. My patience began dissolving into irritation and sorrow. I realized there was nothing I could do to restore the statue. I prayed daily to White Buffalo Calf Woman and the ancestors for guidance, but none came.

When the day came that I spotted a group of young women giggling while trying to pull down the intricate wall hanging, I erupted. Boiling rage, frustration, and despair rose up simultaneously in me, overtaking any familiar sense of self. I rushed over to the women waving my arms, so enraged that I could not speak. My commotion caught their attention and stopped their actions. I tried to shout at them to make them realize their disrespect and foolishness, but only faint squeaking noises escaped from my rage-constricted throat. My furious squeaking served only to spark another spasm of their giggling and they returned to their intent.

Through the rage that seemed to explode my being, the thought arose What will become of us?

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