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Words of Wisdom

On the Good Red Road: Selections from “Black Elk Speaks,” Part 2 of 2



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“Now the fifth Grandfather spoke, the oldest of them all, the Spirit of the Sky. ‘My boy,’ he said, ‘I have sent for you and you have come. My power you shall see!’ He stretched his arms and turned into a spotted eagle hovering. ‘Behold,’ he said, ‘all the wings of the air shall come to you, and they and the winds and the stars shall be like relatives. You shall go across the Earth with my power.’” “Now I knew the sixth Grandfather was about to speak, he who was the Spirit of the Earth, and I saw that he was very old, but more as men are old.” “I stared at him, for it seemed I knew him somehow; and as I stared, he slowly changed, for he was growing backwards into youth, and when he had become a boy, I knew that he was myself with all the years that would be mine at last. When he was old again, he said: ‘My boy, have courage, for my power shall be yours, and you shall need it, for your nation on the Earth will have great troubles. Come.’” “You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The East gave peace and light, the South gave warmth, the West gave rain, and the North with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance. This knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion. Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the Earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars.” “The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” Throughout history, from culture to culture, there's a common thread in every spiritual belief. It is the understanding that we can only fulfill our higher purpose on Earth by letting go of the ego and being united with the God, or the Great Spirit.
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