It is said that my Great Grandfather opened his windows in the morning and prayed to the East. While my ritual of reflection or prayer time is not known by those that I knew or by the ones that they knew, I can see the seeds as they fall through the generations. My way would be closer known to the ancients way. As most family lore, the story of my great Grandfather is highly contested. Perhaps it is contested for the very reason my prayer time would be contested. Because it veers away from the tradition that a person feels comfortable in. To me that is one of the great keys to our spirituality: to constantly evolve and push the walls wider and wider to somehow catch a glimpse of the bigger dream.
My prayer time is like walking a symbolic path or labyrinth. As my ancient Muscogee / Catawba people would have done I begin facing east to Grandfather Sun. I listen to the Creator in his many voices of wind, birds and my inner spirit as he reminds me of each new sun, new day, new possibilities. Opportunities to be new again. Then turning South; this is the strength of the day as I am reminded of youth and the drive to bring thoughts to life. Facing West are the voices of reflection, wisdom and satisfaction. It is the sweetest direction for me when I find myself in its harmony. The last of the four is North, where we and everything returns full circle. Thoughts return full circle; acts return full circle; days and lives all have their returning to completion. Finally to be reminded of Father Sky and Mother Earth, before finally acknowledging the last direction with is within. My spirit. This is but one of many facets of the medicine wheel.
The symbolism comes from my choices of earth. The handle is made from shed deer antler. Shed to make way for new life, new circles. The abalone shell is a reminder of my body, my shell and the life it holds. The Hawk feathers because he is one of the highest flying birds, flying closest to the heavens as a messenger. Those feathers fan the sage, cedar and sweet grass that my prayers rise on to the sky.
I get that this might appear strange to many, but really it doesn’t matter. And it shouldn’t matter to me how anyone else attempts to connect with what the Muscogee called The Master of Breath. Why should there be only one way? Why should we concern ourselves with another’s path of spirituality. One Creator, many traditions. This is just my way. It’s not meant to be mystical or paint me as a deep thinker, believe me that’s not the case. It is just a way of understanding my path in this world. A way of navigating that makes sense to my spirit. I don’t think of right or wrong, better or worse. I just do what feels right from an honest reflection of something I will never fully grasp nor am I meant to. I am simply meant to experience, that’s all. The Great Mystery !!!
I hope these words ring true for someone out there. I hope it helps to release someone from their spiritual bondage of having to be right. Having to figure God out, and let them just experience. Lastly I hope it casts a simple, gentle light on our human desire to connect with this wonderful, Great Mystery !