Friday, April 27, 2012

Sun Dance

Jules Tavernier (1844-1889), Indian Sun Dance. Wood engraving in Harper's Weekly (January 2, 1875).

I know people who are committed to First Nation spirituality. The Sun Dance. They perform service when others dance. They accept service when they dance. The Dances only take place on the high days, the special days. The rest of the time they perform other rituals and they sweat and bathe in specially made lodges. Perhaps they go on vision quests, but this not often, perhaps only once, to find their true names, to find their power and their totem. Other hard times might demand a quest.

Me, I do not dance. I am not a part of the First Nations, not even in part as far as I know. My tradition is Celtic, both from the islands and the mainland, and I know that there is a far back Jewish strain in me. I partake of the power in those places, chase after the wee folk, the faeries and the dragons. I salvage dragons' eggs, help them hatch.

I was told by a spirit on one occasion to cast my lot with the mages. I was told that I needed a language for my own prayers. I was told to seek the help of a particular man and to accept Sanskrit as my holy tongue, if not for always, then for long enough to find the source. This I have done.

Sun Dance

I am held by hooks
of my own making, that's sure.
As I hang I see
gardens out beyond
this field and my Brother there
looking possibly
for me, though I might
be wrong about that after
all is said and done.
It might be Mother
I see, or even the God
of the Long Harvest.
How can I tell past
the pain of my torn chest,
the shards in my feet?

‎April ‎27, ‎2012 9:08 PM


  1. this is an incredibly important post and poem.

    " I was told that I needed a language for my own prayers." if we could recognize this, that we assume languages that make sense to us, that speak to us/of us, and that we are all exercising the word of god (the same god) through our own cultural tongue, then there would be fewer barriers and greater insight. the differences would become arrows that point to a truth, rather than slay one another.

    your poem is beautiful, christopher. it demonstrates in its shadows the tensions of where identity resides, of where god resides. pitifully our language, our thoughts, both bind us, causing us great pain, and are all that we have to use as aids toward our release. it is a terribly confusing existence if we don't accept the mire. nothing is linear and two dimensional. this is often where we fail. we also fail in not accepting the pain. the pain is essential. the pain (although sometimes difficult to admit) is beautiful, is the birth place of beauty.


  2. Erin, thank you.

    " I was told that I needed a language for my own prayers."

    I find the most important part of that that the communication came from the spirit world. I doubt that I can get there from here on my own. I never have.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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