Remembrance of the Holy
“About the dimension of the Sacral”
by Roel Crabbé
“The first peace is that which comes within the souls when they recognize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers.” – Black Elk
“Bres magazine published a series of 6 articles about North American spirituality. They contacted me for a contribution in the edition that focuses on the interview with Lakota medicine man Steve McCullough. In this contribution, I focused on the experience of the Holy. It is a report of my personal experience during a ceremony of Steve, where I received healing, as well as a description of the remembrance of the Holy in ceremonies of North American traditions. “
This article appeared in Bres 259 – Nov 26, 2009
“Together with a few other people I am in the dark space. Each of us asked for healing in this ceremony. My heart is pounding in my throat, while childhood memories rage through my mind. Around us, surrounded by the darkness, is a circle of people. They sing and pray for our healing.
Tears run down my cheeks. All thoughts that I previously thought were important disappear. They are not important at all. My wife is in the circle with the children. My friends are here, they sing, they pray with heart and soul.
I feel doubt, a desire to hide from this power. A feather touches my heart, I feel a soft hand on my shoulder. Shivers all over my body. I open and surrender.
I recognize the fear of allowing this love. She seems to fill me but melts away while an inner glow brings me back to the moment. I feel bathed in a sea of blessings. A sea that desires to fill everything and everyone. A sea of love on which I let myself float … There is a jubilant power within me, I hear myself speak softly: “Yes, just fill me in, let me pray, I surrender to love, fill me …”
Everyone continues to sing to the rhythm of the drum, everyone prays incessantly. There is a great force that carries this circle of people. It is getting bigger and bigger and it seems like time has disappeared. My mind is still. There is only the heat-filled space, one beating heart that prays …
My voice whispers prayers. My heart seems to want to lift me, sings an ode to friendship, to creation. I feel reborn, strong, naked, and vulnerable at the same time. I remember love. Where I have searched, longed, hoped for so long is only a flood of prayer. My once so precious beliefs and judgments, they no longer matter. This power wants to pray through me in all simplicity. A prayer for good things, for everyone. Essence.
The drum continues to sound, while the songs and prayers carry us further. A circle of prayers, a circle of people. I feel at home. A heat glows in my body, there is a peace that I cannot describe.
We sing in the dark. One beating heart.
I can only express my experience in tears of gratitude. “
Remembrance of the Holy
The North American traditions are permeated with ceremonies and prayer: meticulous rituals that take place from a deep connection with the sacred dimension of life.
These ceremonies each have their function, but all create an energy field in which the participant can once again become aware that he is part of the family that we call life and that life is precious and sacred. Everything is animated and alive, everything is an indispensable part of the whole, visible or invisible. Life is holy.
The glowing stones that enter the hut during the sweat lodge ceremony are the “Grandfathers”. They are “the old people”, carriers of enormous wisdom and power.
The water brought in by the water woman in the peyote ceremonies of the Native American Church is “Grandmother”. She gives life to all children of Mother Earth. She traveled around the world like clouds and rivers, she was drunk by our ancestors, by the plants and animals. She was dew and hailstorm, glacier, and tears. She traveled unceasingly and so she enters the ceremony, giving life again to all who are present.
The land is alive. The stones, plants, animals, stars, and spirits, are all part of existence, and they are all recognized as a precious and indispensable part of the circle. They are our brothers and sisters. This awareness of the preciousness and sacred dimension of life itself is the basis of North American spirituality.
The shaman is aware of this sacred dimension and receives instruction from the spiritual worlds. As a carrier of the old knowledge, he puts his life at the service of the greater whole. The shaman is the keeper of “the path”, which is often passed down and honored from generation to generation. He works in close collaboration with the spiritual powers and auxiliary spirits who assist and guide him. The shaman walks life in different realities. His work in ceremony bridges the earthly and spiritual dimensions.
Prayer, as a state of direct connection and communication with the Creator, is the guiding principle in many North American ceremonies. It is prayer that allows us to open ourselves to the spiritual sources of power and help spirits, to healing or remembering timeless knowledge and wisdom. Prayer opens us to the available blessing. It opens the gates of our hearts and helps us remember the sacred dimension of existence. A process that comes from our direct experience of the sacred and opens us to healing and new vision.
Prayer forms the gateway between these worlds and helps the community to focus on the reality of the Creator and to work together as one.
A collaboration that arises from the sincerity of the heart and deep respect for the precious circle of life.
© Roel Crabbé – 2009