Since first posting this piece in 2014, my relationship to ceremony, to walking in a good way, and to myself have deepened tremendously. I have learned how even my most respectful intentions have loose edges. My apologies to anyone who I have inadvertently disrespected. I used the Lakota language, The Sacred Pipe, my source for the words I chose. Going to Standing Rock. Having recently quested. I am learning. Still. Humbly. August 2017
I dreamed… I was with the Star Nation, held in the vastness of sapphire blue, they glittered all around me. I was filling – but not to full – rectangular paper boxes with light and releasing them into the darkness. Ballast containers for the hanblecheyapi.
I’ve never vision quested myself however I have been invited to support the hanblecheya camp – once as an ally to a quester and today I go into camp as the camp cook for the fifth time. It is an honor and a lot of hard work.
Six stops at various grocery stores to get all the provisions. At one store I was asked if I “shop often?” I was told at another that it seemed like the “healthiest camp food” he’d ever seen. We will eat well. Three squares a day plus a sweet thing or two. The nourishment I serve up to the intercessor, the fire tenders, all those who support the camp is healthy and plentiful. This abundance is also feeding those on the hill who are fasting and going without water for days – energetically they are fed, nourished in a good way by our eating and drinking. With a lot of creativity I will get all the food packed into my car – she is not a pack mule but I treat her like one.
A Vision Cry or quest is an ancient tradition with the Lakota People. In my community is it treated with deepest respect and reverence – the tradition is honored in ever way possible. The preparations have taken many months – their sacred items in hand, the altar is set. The Questers commitments are rooted in something I cannot begin to know – this time on the hill is their prayer to the Creator for their families and their path at this time.
“But perhaps the most important reason to “lament” is that it helps us to realize our oneness with all things, to know that all things are our relatives; and then in behalf of all things we pray to Wakan-Tanka that He may give to us knowledge of Him who is the source of all things, yet greater than all things.” Black Elk, excerpts from The Sacred Pipe.
There is a line in the Sacred Pipe that also says in our sleep the most powerful visions come to us; they are not merely dreams, for they are more real and powerful and do not come from ourselves, but from Wakan-Tanka. In my dream there is ballast, light that will surround and support my friends who will cry for a vision so all the people will live. And then we will feast in celebration – traditional foods – buffalo stew, wojapi and fry bread, salmon to honor the local River People.
My own prayer ties complete. They are for all the hands who have brought this food forward, for the land that is has come from, for the food itself – the various Nations who have offered themselves for us to eat, for our protection and safety and harmonious kitchen, the heart of camp. For those who support. For those who will quest.
Wakan-Tanka onshimala ye oyate wani wachin cha!
O Great Spirit be merciful to me that my people may live!