Thursday, October 9, 2008

WW/ Praying for the World

If a natural disaster is averted there just might be a traditional Indian praying for the world. That is what I’ve learned.

Grandma called me once to say I needed to get down to the ranch to help pray. She told my husband to start up the Sacred Fire in back of our home and keep it going. I drove down as soon as I could. She had assembled a small group together. My friend from Oklahoma was there. We quickly went into the Prayer House around the Sacred Fire and prayed.

Grandma said that there was a beautiful plain under the ocean on the east side that the Ocean really loved, and it had finally died because of all the human being had put into the Ocean. The Oceans were sad. The Oceans were angry. And the anger reverberated from one Ocean to another around the world. Already lives had been lost. I remembered the ferryboat full of passengers that had recently sunk in the Atlantic. Grandma said that there was a big tidal wave headed to the coast up by where we lived in Oregon and she was going to pray to ask the Oceans to calm down and not to take anymore lives.

We prayed all night. Grandma would talk to the Great Mt. Shasta and the Creator. She listened. And so it went back and forth to the oceans, back and forth Grandma. Grandma prayed for the human being, prayed that no more lives would be lost, prayed to hold back that time of destruction.

Finally, Grandma said that everything was going to be all right. I don’t remember everything that was said. I don’t really need to. I know enough to realize that it is the prayers and ceremonies of the indigenous traditional people all over the world -- who know these lands from ancient times and keep the old ways going -- that is holding the Whole Thing together.

All over the world, traditional people all pray for the earth, for all beings and for all human beings. The spiritual people sacrifice, they suffer to make prayers strong, interceding over and over again for all of us. The prayers are not just for themselves, their lands or their people only. It is a mistake to trivialize the Worldwide significance of indigenous sacred ways of life because theirs is not a world religion spreading outward but a earth based way of life with a personal tie to one place. These traditional ways may be the very ways which personally benefit each of us. I often think, if the old ways die, who will pray for the world in the earth’s language?

The next day, I traveled back home. A few days later I read in the Register Guard, our local newspaper, that the Japanese meteorologists had warned us of a tidal wave hitting the Oregon coast. A lot of curiosity seekers had shown up to see it. I am mind boggled why tidal waves are a tourist attraction. The short article, as I remember it, took it lightly and reported it was a big mistake of the Japanese scientists and the disappointed onlookers just went home. The tidal wave did not happen.

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"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

from Outside the Monster's Belly
. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.