terça-feira, 29 de janeiro de 2013

the Legend of White Buffalo Woman ( Sioux )

One summer a long time ago, the seven sacred council fires of the Lakota Sioux came together and camped. The sun was strong and the people were starving for there was no game.

 Two young men went out to hunt. Along the way, the two men met a beautiful young woman dressed in white who floated as she walked. One man had bad desires for the woman and tried to touch her, but was consumed by a cloud and turned into a pile of bones. 

The woman spoke to the second young man and said, "Return to your people and tell them I am coming." This holy woman brought a wrapped bundle to the people. She unwrapped the bundle giving to the people a sacred pipe and teaching them how to use it to pray. "With this holy pipe, you will walk like a living prayer," she said. 

The holy woman told the Sioux about the value of the buffalo, the women and the children. "You are from Mother Earth," she told the women, "What you are doing is as great as the warriors do." Before she left, she told the people she would return. As she walked away, she rolled over four times, turning into a white female buffalo calf. It is said after that day the Lakota honored their pipe, and buffalo were plentiful. (from John Lame Deer's telling in 1967).

 Many believe that the buffalo calf, Miracle, born August 20, 1994 symbolizes the coming together of humanity into a oneness of heart, mind, and spirit.

quarta-feira, 23 de janeiro de 2013

The Origin of Medicine - Cherokee

At one time, animals and people lived together peaceably and talked with each other. But when mankind began to multiply rapidly, the animals were crowded into forests and deserts.

Man began to destroy animals wholesale for their skins and furs, not just for needed food. Animals became angry at such treatment by their former friends, resolving they must punish mankind.
The bear tribe met in council, presided over by Old White Bear, their Chief. After several bears had spoken against mankind for their bloodthirsty ways, war was unanimously agreed upon. But what kinds of weapons should the bears use?

Chief Old White Bear suggested that man's weapon, the bow and arrow, should be turned against him. All of the council agreed. While the bears worked and made bows and arrows, they wondered what to do about bowstrings. One of the bears sacrificed himself to provide the strings, while the others searched for good arrow- wood.

When the first bow was completed and tried, the bear's claws could not release the strings to shoot the arrow. One bear offered to cut his claws, but Chief Old White Bear would not allow him to do that, because without claws he could not climb trees for food and safety. He might starve.

The deer tribe called together its council led by Chief Little Deer. They decided that any Indian hunters, who killed deer without asking pardon in a suitable manner, should be afflicted with painful rheumatism in their joints.

After this decision, Chief Little Deer sent a messenger to their nearest neighbours, the Cherokee Indians.
"From now on, your hunters must first offer a prayer to the deer before killing him," said the messenger. "You must ask his pardon, stating you are forced only by the hunger needs of your tribe to kill the deer. Otherwise, a terrible disease will come to the hunter."
When a deer is slain by an Indian hunter, Chief Little Deer will run to the spot and ask the slain deer's spirit, "Did you hear the hunter's prayer for pardon?"
If the reply is yes, then all is well and Chief Little Deer returns to his cave. But if the answer is no, then the Chief tracks the hunter to his lodge and strikes him with the terrible disease of rheumatism, making him a helpless cripple unable to hunt again.

All the fishes and reptiles then held a council and decided they would haunt those Cherokee Indians, who tormented them, by telling them hideous dreams of serpents twining around them and eating them alive. These snake and fish dreams occurred often among the Cherokees. To get relief, the Cherokees pleaded with their Shaman to banish their frightening dreams if they no longer tormented the snakes and fish.

Now when the friendly plants heard what the animals had decided against mankind, they planned a countermove of their own. Each tree, shrub, herb, grass, and moss agreed to furnish a cure for one of the diseases named by the animals and insects.
Thereafter, when the Cherokee Indians visited their Shaman about their ailments and if the medicine man was in doubt, he communed with the spirits of the plants. They always suggested a proper remedy for mankind's diseases.

This was the beginning of plant medicine from nature among the Cherokee Indian nation a long, long time ago.

At the Rainbow´s end _ Diné/Navajo

Long, long ago when First Woman the Goddess was created, she became fully grown in four days. It seemed that every Dine (Navajo) Indian tribesman wanted her for his wife.

She did not love any of them, but she did like the handsome ones. Of all the men, however, she thought the most attractive was the Sun-God. Of course, she thought he could never be her husband.

To her surprise, one day Sun-God came up behind her and gently tickled her neck with a feathery plume. She was engulfed with warm sunshine, and in a magical way the Goddess became the wife of Sun-God. He fathered her firstborn, a son.

Not long thereafter, the Goddess was resting beneath an overhanging cliff when some drops of water fell upon her. Soon the Goddess gave birth to a second son, fathered by Water-God. Because the two boys were so close in age, they became known as the Twins of the Goddess.

They lived in a beautiful canyon that later became a part of Dine (Navajo) land. About that time, a Great Giant roamed over the country and ate every human he could catch. He discovered the Goddess but did not want to kill her, because at first sight he fell in love with her beauty.

The Goddess knew of the Great Giant's evil ways and would have nothing to do with him. He became very jealous of her when he saw footprints of the Twins outside her Hogan.

She saw Great Giant approaching, so she quickly dug a hole in the centre of her floor and there hid her two children, whom she dearly loved. She covered the opening with a flat sandstone rock, spreading dirt over it to prevent the Great Giant from finding her Twins.

Another day, Great Giant saw the children's tracks.
"Where did these children come from?" he asked the Goddess.

"I have no children." she replied, because she knew that he would try to kill them if he found the Twins.
"You are not telling me the truth," he said. "I see children's footprints in the dirt, right here."
The Goddess laughed heartily and said "Those are only my hand prints. I am very lonesome for children, so I only pretend by making tracks with the heels of my hand and the tips of my fingers, like this. These are the tracks of my children."

"Now I believe you," he replied.

As the Twins grew larger, their mother could not hide them any longer. She was alarmed for their safety because of the Great Giant, who saw them one day and tried to catch them. But the Twins were too quick and got away.

The Spirit who made the Goddess appeared with a bow made of cedar wood for Sun-Child.
"It is time for you to learn to hunt," she said to him.
"We must now make some arrows and another bow for your brother," said the Goddess to Sun-Child.
"Mostly, we want to hunt for our father," said Sun-Child. "Mother, who is our father and where does he live?"

"Your father is the Sun-God, but he lives far away in the East," replied the Goddess.

Another bow was made for Water-Child and many arrows for both Twins. They began their journey to the East and travelled as far as they could, but without success in finding Sun-God. When they returned they asked, "Mother, have you lied to us? In the East, we looked everywhere and we could not find our father, the Sun- God."

"He must have gone to the South," she said. Again the Twins set out on another journey, this time to the South, returning without success.
"Please try the West and then the North, if at first you do not find your father in the West," said the Goddess.

She sent the Twins again on their hunting journey, anxious to keep them away and out of sight of the Great Giant. Many moons later, the Twins came back and said, "Mother, have you lied to us four times? Our father was neither in the North nor the West."
"Now I will tell you the truth, my sons," said the Goddess. "Your fathers, the Sun-God and Water-God, live far away in the middle of the great Western Water. Between here and there are great canyons where the walls of the cliffs clap together and would crush you.
"Even if you should succeed in getting through the canyons, there are the terrible reeds that you must cross. Their long knife-like sharp leaves will cut you into pieces.
"If you should escape the reeds, you can never cross the Grand Canyon, which comes first before you can reach the Great Water. You can never, never cross the water where your father's house is in the middle of the Great Water, the Western Ocean."

"But, Mother, we want to go and try to find our fathers," said the Twins.
The Goddess taught the Twins a song of protection for their next journey:

"We are travelling in an Invisible Way to seek our fathers, the Sun-God and the Water-God."

This song she taught them to sing four times, the magic number. Day after day as they travelled along, they sang their song for protection.

One day, as they passed a little spider hole in the ground, they heard a voice say, "Ssh!" four times. The Twins looked into the hole and saw Spider Woman.
"Do not be afraid of me, I am your Grandmother. Come down into my lodge," she said four times.
"We cannot enter your lodge, because your doorway is too small," said the Twins.

"Please blow toward the Eastwind, Southwind, Westwind, and Northwind," Spider Woman called out.

The Twins blew in the four directions and the entrance enlarged enough for them to go through. Inside and to their amazement, they saw the lodge walls covered with bundles of bones wrapped in spider webs, exactly the way spiders wrap flies in a web.

"Do not be afraid, my grandsons," said Spider Woman. "These are the bones of bad men whom I killed."
Spider Woman talked with the Twins about encounters they might have on their trip. She taught them songs for their protection and explained what they could do to overcome obstacles they might meet on their way. "I will give each of you a magic Feather- Plume. Hold it before you as you travel, straight up or sideways to carry you safely forward," she said to the Twins.

"Be on the look out for a little man with a red head and a striped back. He will resemble a sand-scorpion, only a little larger--about the size of a Jerusalem cricket," she explained.

"Thank you, Grandmother, we'll be on our way," said the Twins.

Many days later, the Twins heard a voice from the ground. It was from the little man with the red head.
"Do not scorn me because I am so small," he said. "I can and want to help you. Put your hands down on the ground and spit into them four times. Now close your fists, saving the spit until you come to the Big Water. There you can wash off the spit."

The Twins did exactly as they were told, and after thanking the little man with the red head, they again began their travel. Soon the canyon walls that smashed together loomed ahead of them.

They repeated Spider Woman's prayers, holding the Feather-Plumes sideways. As they moved forward the clapping walls stopped long enough to allow the Twins to walk through safely.

When they came to the jungle of sharp reeds, again they sang the song Spider Woman taught them, touching the tops of the reeds with their magical Feather-Plumes. Behold! The reeds turned into cattails, which pleased the reeds so much that they quickly opened a wide path for the Twins to pass through. A puzzling encounter for the Twins was the giant cliff. They walked around and around its rim, making a complete circle and finally returning to their starting place.

They were making no forward progress, so they sang songs taught them by their mother and Spider Woman. They prayed over and over again. When they opened their eyes, a beautiful Rainbow appeared, creating a large bridge for them to cross over the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River.

After this spectacular adventure, the Twins continued West for a long time, until they saw the Great Water before them. The Water spread so far, they wondered, "How can we ever reach the Turquoise House of Sun-God, which we know is in the middle of the Great Water?"

The Twins walked down to the beach to the edge of the water and washed the spit off their hands, singing and praying at the same time.

Behold! The Rainbow appeared again! A long Rainbow Bridge stretched before them from the beach to the Turquoise House.

Onto the Rainbow Bridge the Twins raced happily, find their two fathers, the Sun-God and the Water-God, who welcomed them in the Turquoise House at the end of the Rainbow Bridge.

Story of Lost Wife - Sioux Legend

A Dakota girl married a man who promised to treat her kindly, but he did not keep his word. He was unreasonable, fault-finding, and often beat her. Frantic with his cruelty, she ran away. The whole village turned out to search for her, but no trace of the missing wife was to be found.

Meanwhile, the fleeing woman had wandered about all that day and the next night. The next day she met a man, who asked her who she was. She did not know it, but he was not really a man, but the chief of the wolves.

"Come with me," he said, and he led her to a large village. She was amazed to see here many wolves -- gray and black, timber wolves and coyotes. It seemed as if all the wolves in the world were there.
The wolf chief led the young woman to a great tepee and invited her in. He asked her what she ate for food.

"Buffalo meat," she answered.

He called two coyotes and bade them bring what the young woman wanted. They bounded away and soon returned with the shoulder of a fresh-killed buffalo calf.

"How do you prepare it for eating?" asked the wolf chief.

"By boiling," answered the young woman.

Again he called the two coyotes. Away they bounded and soon brought into the tent a small bundle. In it were punk, flint and steel -- stolen, it may be, from some camp of men.

"How do you make the meat ready?" asked the wolf chief.

"I cut it into slices," answered the young woman.
The coyotes were called and in a short time fetched in a knife in its sheath. The young woman cut up the calf's shoulder into slices and ate it.

Thus she lived for a year, all the wolves being very kind to her. At the end of that time the wolf chief said to her:

"Your people are going off on a buffalo hunt. Tomorrow at noon they will be here. You must then go out and meet them or they will fall on us and kill us."

The next day at about noon the young woman went to the top of a neighboring knoll. Coming toward her were some young men riding on their ponies. She stood up and held her hands so that they could see her. They wondered who she was, and when they were close by gazed at her closely.

"A year ago we lost a young woman; if you are she, where have you been," they asked.

"I have been in the wolves' village. Do not harm them." she answered.

"We will ride back and tell the people," they said.

"Tomorrow again at noon, we shall meet you."

The young woman went back to the wolf village, and the next day went again to a neighboring knoll, though to a different one. Soon she saw the camp coming in a long line over the prairie. First were the warriors, then the women and tents.

The young woman's father and mother were overjoyed to see her. But when they came near her the young woman fainted, for she could not now bear the smell of human kind. When she came to herself she said:

"You must go on a buffalo hunt, my father and all the hunters. Tomorrow you must come again, bringing with you the tongues and choice pieces of the kill."
This he promised to do; and all the men of the camp mounted their ponies and they had a great hunt. The next day they returned with their ponies laden with the buffalo meat.

The young woman bade them pile the meat in a great heap between two hills which she pointed out to them. There was so much meat that the tops of the two hills were bridged level between by the meat pile. In the center of the pile the young woman planted a pole with a red flag. She then began to howl like a wolf, loudly.

In a moment the earth seemed covered with wolves. They fell greedily on the meat pile and in a short time had eaten the last scrap.

The young woman then joined her own people.
Her husband wanted her to come and live with him again. For a long time she refused. However, at last they became reconciled.

quarta-feira, 2 de janeiro de 2013

Apache Creation Story

Animals, elements, the solar system, and natural phenomena are revered by the Apaches. That which is beyond their understanding is always ascribed to the supernatural.
In the beginning nothing existed--no earth, no sky, no sun, no moon, only darkness was everywhere.
Suddenly from the darkness emerged a thin disc, one side yellow and the other side white, appearing suspended in midair. Within the disc sat a small bearded man, Creator, the One Who Lives Above. As if waking from a long nap, he rubbed his eyes and face with both hands.
When he looked into the endless darkness, light appeared above. He looked down and it became a sea of light. To the east, he created yellow streaks of dawn. To the west, tints of many colours appeared everywhere. There were also clouds of different colours.
Creator wiped his sweating face and rubbed his hands together, thrusting them downward. Behold! A shining cloud upon which sat a little girl.
"Stand up and tell me where are you going," said Creator. But she did not reply. He rubbed his eyes again and offered his right hand to the Girl-Without-Parents.

"Where did you come from?" she asked, grasping his hand.
"From the east where it is now light," he replied, stepping upon her cloud.
"Where is the earth?" she asked.
"Where is the sky?" he asked, and sang, "I am thinking, thinking, thinking what I shall create next." He sang four times, which was the magic number.
Creator brushed his face with his hands, rubbed them together, then flung them wide open! Before them stood Sun-God. Again Creator rubbed his sweaty brow and from his hands dropped Small- Boy.
All four gods sat in deep thought upon the small cloud.
"What shall we make next?" asked Creator. "This cloud is much too small for us to live upon."
Then he created Tarantula, Big Dipper, Wind, Lightning-Maker, and some western clouds in which to house Lightning-Rumbler, which he just finished.
Creator sang, "Let us make earth. I am thinking of the earth, earth, earth; I am thinking of the earth," he sang four times.
All four gods shook hands. In doing so, their sweat mixed together and Creator rubbed his palms, from which fell a small round, brown ball, not much larger than a bean.

Creator kicked it, and it expanded. Girl-Without-Parents kicked the ball, and it enlarged more. Sun-God and Small-Boy took turns giving it hard kicks, and each time the ball expanded. Creator told Wind to go inside the ball and to blow it up.
Tarantula spun a black cord and, attaching it to the ball, crawled away fast to the east, pulling on the cord with all his strength. Tarantula repeated with a blue cord to the south, a yellow cord to the west, and a white cord to the north. With mighty pulls in each direction, the brown ball stretched to immeasurable size--it became the earth! No hills, mountains, or rivers were visible; only smooth, treeless, brown plains appeared.
Creator scratched his chest and rubbed his fingers together and there appeared Hummingbird.
"Fly north, south, east, and west and tell us what you see," said Creator.
"All is well," reported Hummingbird upon his return. "The earth is most beautiful, with water on the west side."

But the earth kept rolling and dancing up and down. So Creator made four giant posts--black, blue, yellow, and white to support the earth. Wind carried the four posts, placing them beneath the four cardinal points of the earth. The earth sat still.
Creator sang, "World is now made and now sits still," which he repeated four times.
Then he began a song about the sky. None existed, but he thought there should be one. After singing about it four times, twenty- eight people appeared to help make a sky above the earth. Creator chanted about making chiefs for the earth and sky.
He sent Lightning-Maker to encircle the world, and he returned with three uncouth creatures, two girls and a boy found in a turquoise shell. They had no eyes, ears, hair, mouths, noses, or teeth. They had arms and legs, but no fingers or toes.
Sun-God sent for Fly to come and build a sweathouse. Girl- Without-Parents covered it with four heavy clouds. In front of the east doorway she placed a soft, red cloud for a foot-blanket to be used after the sweat.
Four stones were heated by the fire inside the sweathouse. The three uncouth creatures were placed inside. The others sang songs of healing on the outside, until it was time for the sweat to be finished. Out came the three strangers who stood upon the magic red cloud-blanket. Creator then shook his hands toward them, giving each one fingers, toes, mouths, eyes, ears, noses and hair.
Creator named the boy, Sky-Boy, to be chief of the Sky-People. One girl he named Earth-Daughter, to take charge of the earth and its crops. The other girl he named Pollen-Girl, and gave her charge of health care for all Earth-People.
Since the earth was flat and barren, Creator thought it fun to create animals, birds, trees, and a hill. He sent Pigeon to see how the world looked. Four days later, he returned and reported, "All is beautiful around the world. But four days from now, the water on the other side of the earth will rise and cause a mighty flood."
Creator made a very tall pinon tree. Girl-Without-Parents covered the tree framework with pinon gum, creating a large, tight ball.
In four days, the flood occurred. Creator went up on a cloud, taking his twenty-eight helpers with him. Girl-Without-Parents put the others into the large, hollow ball, closing it tight at the top.
In twelve days, the water receded, leaving the float-ball high on a hilltop. The rushing floodwater changed the plains into mountains, hills, valleys, and rivers. Girl-Without-Parents led the gods out from the float-ball onto the new earth. She took them upon her cloud, drifting upward until they met Creator with his helpers, who had completed their work making the sky during the flood time on earth.
Together the two clouds descended to a valley below. There, Girl- Without-Parents gathered everyone together to listen to Creator.
"I am planning to leave you," he said. "I wish each of you to do your best toward making a perfect, happy world.
"You, Lightning-Rumbler, shall have charge of clouds and water.
"You, Sky-Boy, look after all Sky-People.
"You, Earth-Daughter, take charge of all crops and Earth-People.
"You, Pollen-Girl, care for their health and guide them.
"You, Girl-Without-Parents, I leave you in charge over all."
Creator then turned toward Girl-Without-Parents and together they rubbed their legs with their hands and quickly cast them forcefully downward. Immediately between them arose a great pile of wood, over which Creator waved a hand, creating fire.
Great billowy clouds of smoke at once drifted skyward. Into this cloud, Creator disappeared. The other gods followed him in other clouds of smoke, leaving the twenty-eight workers to people the earth.
Sun-God went east to live and travel with the Sun. Girl-Without- Parents departed westward to live on the far horizon. Small-Boy and Pollen-Girl made cloud homes in the south. Big Dipper can still be seen in the northern sky at night, a reliable guide to all.