8 thoughts on “if you build it….

  1. Thank you Diana

    Here is a SUNDANCE TALE:

    By our friend Dan Fletcher from the UK

    If there were 100 Ceremonies to participate in before you die, this surely would be in the top ten.
    It is to give thanks to Mother Earth, to show gratitude to her, and to pray for her… as well as to apologise to her.
    It is to pray and sing to Wakantanka – Great Spirit.
    It is also to give prayers for the healing of community, family members and friends.

    It started with the ceremonial cutting of the tree which every man helped with. It was then taken to the ceremonial site where it was placed in a hole so it could stand upright and was then dressed with material around the trunk. The tree was surrounded by a small circle made of Sage leaves and stems, that no one went in to, with 4 buffalo skulls that were facing the directions. Around that was a much larger circle of Sage. 4 smaller trees, festooned with ribbons, were stuck in the earth outside the large circle also showing the directions. And around all that was a circle of teepees where the men slept. A beautiful and colourful sight.

    There was the Medicine Man and his helpers, and the men dancers who had volunteered to have their breasts pierced. The men were attached to the tree by a rope which connects them to the bone that pierced their breasts. At times the rope was pulled tight by their positions. It looked painful.

    Around the large circle were the supporters who also danced. And there were the drummers who also sang the whole time.

    Each male pierced dancer had a woman outside the circle, who guaranteed to support them the whole time, by also dancing and fasting at the same time.

    And the final item was the Lakota pipe. Every person in and around the circle, as they danced, held a pipe in their left hand as well as bushes of Sage. Many were lit and smoked during the ceremony for prayer and also to help the men dance. Don’t ask me how, but it did help. One helper also came round with a tin of smoking herbs or leaves to bless people and to help the dancers keep going.

    It is hard, it is tough. it is long. 15 hours of dancing in 4 bouts starting at 4.30 am. The pierced dancers are woken at 3am. The longest stretch of dancing was 7 hours. The shortest 3 hours. They finished at night after the full moon had fully risen into the night sky.

    The pieced men basically do not eat and do not drink for the 4 days. However some small “medicine” drinks were given to them as directed by the Medicine Man, whilst they danced and at times they were given a few bites of dried buffalo meat to chew. Not easy when your mouth is really dry.

    When the men in the circle had their breasts pierced with a slim bone – I did not see one man even wince when it was done… however I did see some distorted faces – when they were given a cup of buffalo fat soup to drink!

    A friend who did it found that for him the discomfort and pain allowed him to be grounded in his body, so that when he was in trance, in an altered state, in bliss, when going out to other worlds, he always knew where his centre and his body was. He didn’t get lost.

    A most memorable session was the second night when we all danced and sang all facing West as Grand Father Sun went down…
    The dancers were then released from the ropes attaching them to the tree in the centre, and were led in a file around the circle until they, and we, were all facing East. We all danced and sang as Grandmother Moon came up. Amazing to see, dance and sing as it happened. And around us in a horse shoe shape in the distance were huge clouds, yet above us clear sky. Thunder and lightening struck in all directions simultaneously.
    There was vast sheet lightening, bolts of lightening down to the earth, bolts zigzagging horizontally across the clouds… 5 or 10 a second in all directions.

    The Medicine Man said the Thunder Beings, the grandfathers, were happy with us.

    The Ceremony ended at midday on the fourth day when the pierced men ran backwards to break the skin holding the bone. Painful it seemed.
    Then there was a feast and party and many gifts given out to everyone.

    If you would like to participate in this Sun Dance Ceremony next year let me know and I can put you in touch with the Medicine Man. He is one of the few that encourages non Indians to join in and participate in their sacred Ceremony. This makes him some enemies among his people so I have not given his name. However you will receive a big welcome from him, his huge family and his friends. What matters to him is that everyone prays for and apologises to the Earth. This fulfils a visionary dream he had as a boy.

  2. When we speak and write and jot hurridly to catch up on our lives and its events I’ve always felt this overwhelming personal connection to you through the written word. It is so wonderful that the world now has this connection. Your message of entering Blogdom was no surprise. I’m still waiting for the book that will one day be a movie that will one day be a history of the most exceptional person I will ever know. Thank you for that meeting of chance on 27th Street, New York, New York in August 1981. You are my best friend.

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