The Hoop Dance, Experiences at the Native Pow Wow


Dear All,

"Each summer, thousands of Native American Peoples across the country celebrate their connections to tradition and spirituality, to the Mother Earth and to one another, in a social, personal and spiritual meeting: the Pow Wow."[1]

"The term "Pow Wow" is traced to the Algonquian language as "pauwau" which was the name given to a medicine man and referred to a ceremony performed by him. Europeans mispronounced the word as "pow wow", using it to refer to any large Native American gathering."[2]

"[However], Pow Wow, 'Wacipi' in the Dakota language, was originally a Spring event to celebrate the seasonal renewal of life. People would congregate to sing, dance, renew old friendships and form new ones. Pow Wows had religious significance as opportunities to hold a naming, now usually conducted in the privacy of a family gathering, and honoring ceremonies. In the Dakota/Lakota tradition, the celebration was also a prayer to Wakantanka (the Great Spirit, Grandfather or Great Mystery."[3]

[Yesterday, I went to a local Native Pow Wow where I picked up a copy of the wonderful prayer that follows:]

"The Native American Prayer

Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world - hear me - I come before you, one of your children. I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made, my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise, so that I may know the things you have taught my People, the lesson you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself. Make me ever ready to come to you, with clean hands and straight eyes, so when life fades as a fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame."

Prayer by Yellow Hawk

Sioux Chief



[As soon as I read, "I seek strength not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself," I immediately thought about Shri Mataji speaking about the six enemies within, which must be fought, and how the prayer totally echoed Her message. Greed, lust, anger, pride(vanity), jealousy and attachment, the six enemies within, are truly the veritable 'jihad' to be fought and conquered.

The middle-aged Native man at the concession booth shared the resonance I felt with Chief Yellow Hawk's prayer. To my utter astonishment, as the conversation quickly touched on "The White Buffalo Calf Woman", he said matter-of-factly, "They say She's already here." Not only did he get his precious Self-Realization but he was also given the gift of the name of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, who Herself has stated, "I was the White Buffalo Calf Woman."

At the Pow Wow entrance, a young Native woman graciously offered me the gift of a "Mystery Bracelet", which I gratefully accepted. In response to my question as to why it was called a "Mystery" bracelet, she gently replied , "That's because it has no beginning or end." "Ah...," said I, "that's like the Great Mystery who has no beginning or end." She nodded her head and silently smiled her reply.

And just to share with you a fascinating dance I saw performed: the "HOOP Dance". For this dance large hoops are spread on the ground and as the singing and drumming begin, the hoops are flipped onto the performer's ankles, legs, arms and body and are manipulated into various shapes, whether that of an eagle with wide-spread wings, a butterfly, or the round circle of the Earth. It was spectacular, riveting, and I really understood, through the visual dance performance, how all the separate hoops can and DO become totally interconnected to become ONE HOOP! ... Just as we are all interconnected!]

"There is nothing like, we are English, we are Indian, we are this - we are all universal beings. And once we accept this, suddenly you jump into the state of collective consciousness, into the state of the Virata." (Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi. Shudy Camps, England, 1988-08-20, Cure that Left Vishuddhi.)

[From time to time throughout the years I've kept articles and sayings that have struck me as being beautifully significant in a deeply spiritual way. This particular 'vision' of a Holy Man of the Ogalala Sioux now has an even greater impact on me, as you will soon understand:]

Black Elk

"And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw, for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one Mother and one Father. And I saw that it was holy."

With love,

Gerlinde

Reference:
[1]The Pow Wow - Meaning, Significance, History.doc
[2]Greene,Jacqueline Dembar.Pow Wow:a good day to dance.New York, United States.Franklin Watts.A Division of Grolier Publishing.1998. ISBN 0-531-20337-9 pp.7,47
[3]The Pow Wow - Meaning, Significance, History.doc



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