Thursday, January 14, 2016

Indian Play and Pray

Continuing on my Indian Play theme from last post below are the animals I was inspired to draw.  Turtle and moose are playing poker, buffalo is knitting and beaver and loon are having a game of pool. 
Yesterday Sophie and I got to Kumik.  A little late and a lot frazzled so it was disorientating to walk in from a packed day of work  into the calm.  The Elder was Bob Seven Crows and his partner Joanne Parent. 

Often they will share a theme and ask people to pass the feather and share their thoughts on it.  Sometimes I find this really frustrating.  I want to hear the Elder share their wisdom not some random person who might take too long to talk and might be boring... but what a lesson there is in that frustration.  I can share a joy or a sorrow with someone.  I can learn a totally new way of thinking about an issue or gain the comfort of shared experience.  I can have the calm to be in a space where everyone is respected.  I can remember that it is not all about me.

The theme was the smudge and the teaching was about intention.  We all smudge differently and that is ok.  It is the intent that we bring to the act that matters.  I really appreciated this assurance, that I was not missing out on some "right way" to smudge.  They also spoke about making due.  As they work in the prisons tobacco is not allowed and matches regulated, so they use cedar and count matches.  This story was a good reminder to appreciate that we do have access to these things.

They also spoke to the four sacred plants and the role of each of them; cedar and sage to purify;  Sweet grass to carry prayer; and tobacco to carry intentions.  They spoke to the offering of tobacco to the Elder as a means to carry the intentions for the discussion to be had. I had read about each of these, but hearing it again was really good.  It has made me think about that offering of tobacco differently.

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