“I am Bear Dreamer. I come from the Star Nation. I come to share wisdom. I come with healing for the people of Turtle Island. Hear now the words I speak. Listen to the words that form in your own heart.”
The elder shaman sat across the campfire from me, his face a craggy shadow of lines and wrinkles, red paint glistening across his cheeks, his eyes gazing within and far away at the same time. Slowly, he beat a deerskin drum.
“The Earth is our Mother. Upon her back we live and get our nourishment. It is our duty to care for her. The Sky is our Father, home of the Great Mystery. It is our duty to honor our Creator by honoring the earth and each other. Listen, Sojourner. Listen to the Earth. She will tell you what she needs, what you can give her. Listen to the Earth within your own heart.”
The rhythmic drumming, the sound of his ancient voice, the snap and crackle of the fire and the feel of Wolf’s energy beside me, lulled me into a trance-like state.
“Where have you been, Sojourner? What songs have you heard from the earth?” Bear Dreamer’s voice came to me as though from a distance.
In my mind I saw images of all the places I’d traveled, rolling past my mind’s eye like a movie. Places in North America, in Europe, the Caribbean, Hawaii…oceans…mountains…wheat fields…and the celestial lights at night. Sounds and words formed in my mind. Something like a poem, or a song, began to build itself.
A song rolled out of the heavens,
across the earth,
through the ocean,
Picking up notes,
lines of verse,
This song of the Universe sounded like-
Solar flares spurting from the sun.
Humpback whales breaching with a loud slap of flukes to water.
The snap and crackle of a campfire.
Bees buzzing in the garden.
Stars blanketing the night sky of the Mohave Desert.
Wind across the Great Plains.
Lava flowing from Kilauea and hissing into the ocean.
Colors dancing among the Aurora Borealis.
Waterfalls roaring down the side of the Shining Mountains.
Raindrops on the pond
Ravens winging through the forest.
Snow falling in December.
Ice cracking on the river in March.
Songbirds at dawn.
Owls hooting at twilight.
Elk bellowing under a full moon in Yellowstone
Thunder rolling and lightning striking during a summer storm.
Wolves howling in the Canadian wilderness.
Waves lapping against a rocky shoreline.
Turtles burying their eggs in the soft earth.
Leaves unfurling on the Maple tree.
A yipping Arctic Fox.
The echo of the ocean in a seashell.
The slow flow of the Mississippi River through the bayou.
These sounds of the stars, the earth, the sky, the oceans-
Melded into one song.
The Song of the Universe.
Three loud, rapid drumbeats brought me back to the here and now, but the sound of a campfire, night birds in the forest, Wolf’s breathing held me in the magic of this meditation. Echoes of the universe song repeated in my mind.
I thought of the holy man, Black Elk of the Lakota Sioux. He had visions throughout his life and he shared much of what he learned with his white friend, John G. Neihardt, an ethnographer and historian who wrote a series of books based on his interviews and discussions with Black Elk.
In one vision, Black Elk describes the voices of the heavens talking to him:
“Then I looked up at the clouds, and two men were coming there, headfirst like arrows slanting down; and as they came, they sang a sacred song and the thunder was like drumming. I will sing it for you. The song and the drumming were like this:
‘Behold, a sacred voice is calling you; All over the sky a sacred voice is calling.”
I sat there gazing at them, and they were coming from a place where the giant lives (north). But when they were very close to me, they wheeled about toward where the sun goes down, and suddenly they were geese. Then they were gone and the rain came with a big wind and a roaring.” ***
Ancient and indigenous people understood the sacredness of the universe and the earth we live upon. They heard the stars sing, Grandmother Earth share her wisdom and the wind carry prayers to the Great Spirit.
It is time to listen again to the song from the stars, sacred lands and oceans. A sacred voice is calling us to heal the earth.
*** Neihardt, John G. Black Elk Speaks. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. 1932