Thursday, July 16, 2009
Over the last week, we held a name ceremony for one friend who lives in the middle of Italy. Long Arrow (Dreaming) was the name she was given. She is a gifted dreamer, quite a unique dreamer. However, a good name is not a reward, but a map to new information about who you may be and where yo may be able to go in this life.
Name-giving is a serious task. A ceremonial namer can be an American Indian of many flavors, styles and methods. name giving is ancient. for many of the more ancient tribes, some level of ceremonial naming is an essential element of their original instructions.In the culture of the Ahnishinabeg, the Ojibway, receiving the name is one of the eight sacred rites of Initiation into the sacred rituals and objects, the Mide-Wi-An Society, Wabeenos and Jessakids, those persons educated and experienced in the ceremonial rites of knowledge, medicine and dreams.
Inside this world the tools of long singing, long drumming, and dreaming together in the night add a dimension to that name. inside the mystery life, inside sacred ritual space, you are that name. Your journey into the mystery life is as that named person and not as the person named by your family.
Almost everyone has distant, ancient ancestors who worked hard, or went through something spectacular, and received a new name. the naming is within the cycle of teachings we call the original instructions.
Most American Indians today have accepted the names imposed upon them by the United States government in the management of the Federal American Indian Reservation System. Many of the American Indians who are close to their original instructions have various names either as a result or in imitation of this long and ancient tradition. However, even today, most American Indians use the names imposed upon their families by the United States Government. As a young man, one of the first acts of returning to and recovering my tribal ancestors was to understand through vision quest, long travels and many ceremonies, what my name really was and is. I called the act of finding this name an act of restoration.
This Long Arrow (Dreaming) is a brave woman who is trying to wake up. Inside her struggle is the memory of a sacred dream, a dream of power and beauty. Every human being has had this dream. Learning how to awaken inside this dream is the work of the sacred ceremonies of the Four Directions Unity Bundle. the name was given from the sweat lodge, the water drum, the morning tobacco fire, corn pollen, tobacco, songs and silences. At the end of the time the name was given. We closed everything out with a long song around the big drum that Tewa tribal elder Red Shirt made for me so many years ago.
You do not have to be some kind of American Indian to receive a name in this tradition, by these ancient methods. We have always said that when one person finds their way inside the mystery life, inside that sacred circle of time, song and smoke, well, then they are not indians or men or women or anything but a human being trying to open their heart right there on the earth at that moment and receive and understand the truth. It is not a moment for sissies or fools. It is in fact a gateway, an opening into another use of time, space and in realizing who in the world you might be on this mother earth. the old Indians always told me it could happen just this way.
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