“When we discuss or debate things we do it in a respectful manner. That's always been the way here. But while earthly things may be argued about, we never argue about Creator. We respect differences. That is the tradition here on North America, going back many thousands of years.”
- Slow Turtle (John Peters)
Day 100 - Saturday, September 30, 1995 - Even before the rose-colored light of dawn filled the sky, I traveled to the grassy mall with Grandfather Commanda and Jacki for the surise meditations. Then a Lakota elder named Arvol Looking Horse led a pipe ceremony in the prayer vigil circle we had set at the base of the Washington Monument.
|Lakota pipe keeper Arvol Looking Horse addresses the vigil at the base of the Washington Monument. Author photo.
Looking Horse is the 19th generation of his family to serve as Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Woman Pipe, the original pipe. In his remarks to the gathering, he spoke about this.
He said that back in 1994 a White Buffalo calf was born, and he explained how for native people the calf symbolized the return of the spirit of White Buffalo Calf Woman, a holy woman who brought vital teachings to the Lakota people hundreds of years ago.
As he stood before the ceremonial fire, Looking Horse said, "I am asking you to carry the messages of peace and unity that you find here today -- the same messages that White Buffalo Calf Woman taught long ago about the importance of coming together of the different colors of people.
“I am honored to see all the nations that are represented here today. I feel a lot of good things will happen if we unite spiritually."
As Looking Horse spoke, a flock of more than 100 seagulls flew over the mall. They began to whirl in the sky about 50 feet above the circle. Higher above the gulls, a lone hawk soared in the up-welling currents of Autumn air.
"Today we are here," he continued, "because seven generations ago our ancestors prayed for us. So now it is time for us to pray for the seventh generation to come...
“Each nation has its teachings and prophecies,” Looking Horse said, “and I respect their ways. I have been honored to meet with spiritual elders from many nations, and as we talk we understand the similarities of these teachings and prophecies, and understand that if we do not do our ceremonies it can go the other way, with much suffering and pain.
“In the time of prophecies there must be a change. Our ancestors told us there would be a time when each person must make a choice and a change. This is that time."
The Children of Hope, a multiracial group traveling the continent, made a grand entrance to the prayer vigil carrying the "Torch of Hope."
The young people sang, and also offered remarks: "We are the Seventh Generation that the grandparents spoke of so long ago,” they said.
“We are carrying the seeds of the new time, and the seeds are hope.
"By lighting our torch from the sacred fire this morning we are hoping and praying that we may our do our part to bring the sacred hoop together."
The Children of Hope left the prayer vigil shortly thereafter, and drove west in their van, heading for Oklahoma City. They said they hoped to encounter our group of Sunbow 5 walkers on their way across Arkansas.
From the south direction came twenty-four women and men representing the Quechua, Mapuche, Payapo, Maya Cafan, and other native nations of South America.
They entered the vigil circle and spoke of the ancient prophecy of the condor and the eagle, similar to the teachings we Sunbow pilgrims had heard at the United Nations in August.
The understanding is that one day the condor and the eagle will fly together, symbolizing unity among the peoples of the South and the North.
As one speaker expressed it, during the ninth Pachacuti,
an era that started around 500 years ago by their reckoning, the eagle peoples of the North will dominate the Earth. The people of the eagle
are those involved deeply in the worlds of matter, mind, and intellect -- the modern technological world.
The term people of the condor represents the people who live close to the land, with the indigenous heart and wisdom that come from being attuned to the natural world. These people are spiritually rich but materially impoverished.
The native peoples of South America long ago foresaw a period of great imbalance, an era when the intellectual and material people of the eagle would all but wipe out the spiritual and heart-centered people of the condor -- pushing them to the edge of extinction.
|As Mapuche Chief Leonardo Casulli sang a traditional song, a stripe of rainbow light appeared on a feather-shaped cloud drifting by in the west. Author photo.
By the start of the tenth Pachacuti –- now -- people of the eagle will have attained brilliant new systems and technologies. They will have material wealth beyond imagination. But with that material attainment will come a spiritual impoverishment that puts their lives at risk. The technologies will have developed without earth wisdom, and thus threaten to destroy the air, water, soil, plants and animals that everyone depends upon for survival.
According to the prophecy, the speakers said, eventually Pachamama (Earth Mother) will tremble with floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, and profound climate change. All creatures will be humbled.
It is at this time, the speakers said, that a new era will be born, signified by the eagle and the condor flying together, and also by the coming together of people from all the colors and traditions for the causes of survival and spiritual evolution.
As elder Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez of Guatemala has expressed it, one important part of the prophesy of the eagle and condor is that the people from the center (Central America) will join the two as one.
"The eagle and condor will eventually remember that they come from one place,” he has said. “They will fly together in the same sky, wing to wing.”
Far to the West, meanwhile, on the far side of the Mississippi River, the Sunbow 5 walkers progressed step by step along Route 70 in Arkansas, heading toward toward Little Rock. The weather is still hot, and the walkers are still feeling stressed.
According to Tom, the walkers were today the recipients of many a friendly wave from people driving by, and also of one small cardboard box, formerly home to a McDonald's Big Mac. The box was tossed out a car window. It hit Tom in the back of the head as he strode along the side of the road.
The whack on the back of the head startled more than it hurt, Tom said, adding that it was the first incident of its kind that the walkers have experienced. There have been occasional "fingers" over the 100 days they have walked thus far, but much more often the gestures have been waves of greeting. No one has thrown anything at the walkers until today.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 101 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire