Friday, May 29, 2015

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community May 30 2015 Trinity Sunday: Called to Relationships Honoring those who served in the military, Eileen Miller and Katy Zatsick ARCWP Co-Presiders, Mindy Lou Simmons - Music Minister

video

 


Welcome

Gathering Song: #647 “God of Our Fathers” please change to “God of all People”

Co-presider: In the name of God our creator, and of Jesus our brother, and of the Holy Spirit our energy for relationships All: Amen.



Co- Presider: God, Loving Creator be with each member and family of our community especially families with members who have served in the military or are serving in the military.
ALL: And with all.

Opening Prayer:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, you have created all things and you continue to call us to new life ever deeper into relationship with you. Teach us to reverence in one another the gift of life that we share. Give us a hunger for your Word, and let us walk in union with your Spirit all the days of our lives. Glory to you, Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen


Rite of Healing (Pause briefly and reflect on the need to grow more in loving relationships with others and with creation)


Prayer for healing in our community: (All raise hands extended in prayer and recite together.)
See in us, O God, the face of your Christ and heal our brokenness and wounds. Give us the courage to love in spite of loss and mercy to forgive all who have injured us in any way. We ask forgiveness for when we have hurt others in our relationships with them. As always we pray in our Brother Jesus’ name. Amen. 


Liturgy of the Word:

First Reading Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40


Lector: The Word of God. ALL: Thanks be to God


Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33


All: They are happy whose God is the Creator, the people God has chosen


Second Reading from Celebration “Trinity is our home” by Angie O’Gorman


“…the quark is the smallest subatomic particle; the fundamental building block of everything only comes in threes. In other words, it only comes in relationship. From this quantum discovery it is not a difficult leap to believing that our God, the creative force behind everything, also and only exists as a threesome. Whether one is Creator or created, being in relationship is primary, and threesomes are apparently where it’s at. ..


We have, through no merit of our own, the gift of life so that we might grow into conscious loving for eternity. Relationship allows both the life and the growing to happen. Relationship is at the heart of things, in the material world and the Divine…The Triune God loves us before we even know what the word means, and keeps drawing us into that love, and drawing us. Our home is the Trinity.” The inspired word of Angie.


All: Thanks be to God.


All: Alleluia sung while book is being carried to the lectern.


Gospel : Matthew 28:16-20


Lector: This is the Good News according to Matthew All: Glory to you, O God.


Lector: This is the good news of our salvation. (At end of Gospel)


All: Praise to you Living God, our Brother Jesus.


All: Alleluia sung after gospel is read and book set in its place.
Blessings for those who have served in the military:



Cheryl Brandi served in the Navy as a nurse in the Vietnam war

(Will the members of the community who have served in the military please rise; let us raise our hands in blessing)

Loving God we ask your blessings for these men and women of Mary Mother of Jesus who have served America with their military service. You are the men and women, who saluted our flag, who served under our flag and who will be remembered under America’s flag for standing for our nation's freedoms and the Common Good. We thank you for your presence amongst us. You are living reminders of willing sacrifice for the values we hold dear as Americans. We offer you our ongoing support as men and women of whom we are proud. May your lives be long and filled with peace. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Dialog homily: Remembering those who have served the USA in the military

Profession of Faith: All: We believe in God, the fountain of all relationships between persons, with all life on earth, between planets and within our galaxy. God’s very self energy creating, sustaining and receiving all that exists. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who reflects the face of God and the fullness of humanity. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of God in the cosmos, who calls us to love and serve in relationship with others without counting the cost. We believe in our global communion and relationships with all in the circle of life including our planet earth. Amen to loving actions on behalf of justice, healing, compassion and equality for all in our world!


General Intercessions:

Presider: Always mindful of God’s love and care for us, our relationships with others and all creation, we bring our needs to our loving God.

Response after each petition: Loving God, hear our prayer

Presider: Healing God, we trust that you hear our prayers. May we celebrate our oneness in our relationships with others through our works for justice, equality, and peace. We make this prayer through Jesus, our brother, in union with the Holy Spirit.


ALL: Amen

Offertory: (Procession with gifts: instrumental music)

Co-presider: Blessed are you, God of all creation, through your goodness we have this bread to offer which earth has given and human hands have made. This bread is our faith community seeking knowledge, becoming conscious in right relationships with others and all life. May we individually and as a community live your vision of peace, justice, equality and healing for all. This bread will become for us the bread of life.

All: Blessed be God forever.

Co-Presider Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. This drink is our desire to be in right relationship within our families, our communities and the nations of the world. This wine will become our spiritual drink. All: Blessed be God forever.


Presider: Pray that we become one with all in the blessed Trinity of human and planetary relationships.

ALL: We are gathered as a community to celebrate the gift of life. May we be faithful to the call of healing and building compassionate relationships with others. Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer: (Please gather around the altar)

Presider: Our Triune God who stirred the waters of creation dwells on earth and throughout creation-in our hearts and in the galaxies,


ALL: And in every living being.

Presider: Let us lift up our hearts.
ALL: We lift up our hearts to our Creator who desires healing and right relationships for all humanity and our earth.

Presider: Let us give thanks to the Source of life.

All: It is right to give our triune God of relationships who is present everywhere and in everything, thanks and praise.


All Sing: We are holy…You are holy…I am holy…We are holy.


All: Holy One, we bring you these gifts that they and we may become the Christ Presence. Triune God infuse these gifts with you Presence of relationship amongst all through the power of your Holy Spirit Sofia.

(All Extend Hands) All: On the night before he died, while at supper with his disciples, friends and family Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to them saying, “Take this, all of you, and eat. Do this in memory of


me.”

(Pause)

All: In the same way, Jesus took the cup of wine. He said the blessing, gave the cup to his friends and said, “Take this all of you and drink. Do this in memory of me.”


The Mystery of Faith:


All: This bread is you, this bread is me. We are one body, a reflection of God’s treasures, in communion with all peoples and creation.


Voice 1: Creator of the Cosmos, we thank you that there are 18 galaxies for every person, that our bodies are made of stardust. Every place we turn, you are present, loving us. You call us, “beloved” and invite us to join the dance of creation in a mystical celebration of our oneness with all living things in your divine love.

Voice 2: Jesus Christ of the Cosmos, we rejoice that You, who are More than we can imagine or dream of, dwell in Mystery of relationship beyond all comprehension. We remember that it was you, who said: “Anything I have done in the name of the Creator, you can do, too…and even more.”

Voice 3: Sofia Spirit Energy of all Creation, we remember all within our world and church who are working for environmental healing, human rights and justice for all. We remember women and men who are leaders in our church and world especially (mention names of those who have served in the military and those who taught us to be peacemakers )

Voice 4: Father and mother of the Cosmos, we remember Mary, mother of Jesus, faithful disciple. We remember our sisters and brothers, the great cloud of witnesses who have cared for earth’s creatures and have blessed our world with their loving service in relationship with God’s people. We praise you in union with them and give you glory by working for a more just and peaceful world.

ALL: Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in unity with the Holy Spirit, all glory, honor and praise to you, God of relationships forever and ever.
Great Amen: Sung

Prayer of Jesus Sung: “Our Father and Mother”


Sign of Peace: Peace…Hope…Love is Flowing like a River

Litany for the Breaking of the Bread:
All: Christ of the Cosmos, we will live in relationship with you and all creation. Christ of the Cosmos, we will work for healing of the earth. Christ of the Cosmos, we will celebrate justice rising up in your global communion everywhere.


Co-Presiders: This is the Cosmic Christ in whom all creation lives and moves and has its being. All are invited to partake in this banquet of love and to celebrate our relationship with all living beings and our Earth. ALL: We are the Body of Christ.

Communion Song: You are the Face of God


Prayer after Communion:
ALL: Lover of the Universe, we are full of awe at your extravagant love flowing through all living things and your gift of relationships with all of creation. We immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature that surrounds us each day. We are one with our brother Jesus in union with the Holy Spirit. All: Amen


Community Prayers of Thanksgiving/final thoughts

Announcements for the community:


Concluding Rite

Presiders: Christ of the Cosmos is with us All: And loves through us.
Blessing: (with hands extended in prayer):
All: The blessing of God is upon us as we go in the peace of the Cosmic Christ to build loving relationships with all whom we meet! Thanks be to God.


Presider: Go in the peace of our Compassion Christ, let our service continue! ALL: Thanks be to God.
Closing Hymn and Recessional:
“I am Willing” by Holly Near
refrain All: “I am open, I am willing;
to be hopeless would seem so strange.
It dishonors those who go before us.

So lift me up to the light of change. 

Homily Starter by Katy Zatsick ARCWP


Reflection by Katy


Today is the Christian feast of the Trinity. Three persons in God, not three gods but One. Theologians are teaching us about the quantum level of creation and what it means for us in our relationship with God and others. Where theologians and physicists meet is the Mystical study of God and who we are in the spiritual life and relationships of our ever evolving planet.


The foundational building block of the universes is the quark, not opposites but in threesome of fractionals, in relationship with each other. And so as I prepared for this liturgy, I began to think about the challenging relationships in my life and how God was present with me. I think about the need for personal healing before we can be in relationship with others-for me to be in relationships with those who serve in the military.


The psychology department at WRAMC diagnosed me with Secondary PTSD as I lived there for 8 months with my only son Jason VSI Iraq Oct 2005. I was in need of deep healing of soul, emotions and body when I left in June 2006. My healing began at an ancient ritual for the Sioux warriors who include Red Cloud and Sitting Bull, veterans of the WWII, Korean, Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan. Our God of healing is found in the paradox where a wounded mother met proud and honored Sioux warriors. The prayers were for the healing of Jason but as I prayed with the Sundance circle of Sioux warriors, I began to heal.


My awareness and acceptance as sister to the warriors of our country in the Beloved community of relationship continues to grow. While I was at the Sundance I bonded in relationship with the Sioux through time and with the dancers, honoring the Warriors present and past. We all had lived with the horrible wounds of war, mental, physical and emotional and spiritual. We honored the warriors of the present Sioux nation as they serve in the military for the USA. As I look back the dance honors the warriors and I through participating joined myself to them and their family and friends in prayers for healing. We are all in relationship to each other as our Triune God is in relationship with GodSelf repeated in the quarks of humanity and the never ending galaxies, stars and planets.


I am in their debt for ever, for my relationship with the Warriors of the Lakota Sioux I carry with me as I continue on my own healing journey and as I try to live a deeper relationship with all my brothers and sisters and with my God.


Below is my


1 Belief that we are all warriors


2. Description of the Sundance


3. My experience of the Sundance, Rosebud reservation, South Dakota June 2006-


Please read section titled “The Sundance for Jason’s healing pg 14


4. Description of a Quark
From Native Wisdom for White Minds by Anne Wilson Schaef. Pg September 10
Warriors
“(Being a warrior) It is a willingness to sacrifice everything except your truth, your way of being, your commitment. The ultimate stand is to your commitment to do something with your life that will make a difference.”---Douglas Cardinal, Canadian Indian Architect, Writer, and Artist.
Throughout the world, a new breed of warrior is being discussed. These warriors have nothing to do with weapons, battles or killing. Rather, they are taking a stand on living. To fight for life and harmony as if each of our lives makes a difference is no small challenge. ..What if each of us is willing to do something with her or his life that would benefit at least seven generations to come? What if we become warriors for balance and healing?



Warriors don’t always have to fight. They may just have to stand up. SUN DANCE


"INDIAN SUN DANCE: Native American Sioux Sun Dance, a man with his chest skin attached, with sinew, to a pole, drummers, spectators" by George Catlin
The Sun Dance is a distinctive ceremony that is central to the religious identity of the Indigenous peoples of the Great Plains. It developed among the horse-mounted, bison hunting nations who populated the Great Plains in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Those nations at the core of its practice in the bison-hunting era that have continued its practice into the contemporary period include … and the Sioux (including in particular the western most Sioux, who are the seven tribes of the Lakota nation, but also including the Yanktons and Santees, who comprise the six tribes of the Dakota nation).
The Canadian and U.S. governments perceived this ceremony as superstitious rather than religious and suppressed it, and full liberty to practice the Sun Dance was regained only after the mid–twentieth century.
The name Sun Dance derives from the Sioux identification of it as Wi wanyang wacipi, translated as "sun gazing dance." Other Plains peoples have names for the ceremony that do not refer to the sun. ..The medicine lodge is constructed of pole rafters radiating from a sacred central pole. However, the best-known and most widely practiced contemporary form of the ceremony is that of the Sioux, who do not construct a medicine lodge. Instead, the Sioux make a hocoka, or ritual circle, with a sacred cottonwood tree erected in the center and a circular arbor built around the entire perimeter, except for an open entrance to the east, so that the dancing takes place within a central arena that is completely open to the sky and to "sun gazing." However, both traditions, whether that of the medicine lodge or of the hocoka, involve ritual ways of making local space sacred as a setting for renewal of the people's relationship with the land itself and with all the beings of their life-world, both human and other-than-human.



The ceremony is highly variable because its performance is intimately connected to the authoritative guidance of visions or dreams that establish an individual relationship between one or more of the central participants and one or more spirit persons. In all cases, however, the primary meaning is understood to be the performance of acts of sacrifice in ritual reciprocity with spiritual powers so that the welfare of friends, family, and the whole people is enhanced. The Arapaho, Cheyenne, Blackfoot, and Sioux nations all practice sacrificial acts of piercing the flesh, often described pejoratively as "torture" by outsiders. …Some Indigenous interpreters have suggested an analogy between the piercing of sun dancers and the piercing of Jesus on the cross, seeing both as acts of voluntary sacrifice on behalf of other beings and the cosmic welfare. While this interpretation may facilitate understanding for some, interpreters must be wary of imposing any religious category that clashes with the central concern of the Sun Dance: to establish and maintain kinship with all the people's relatives, including other humans, the animal and plant relatives of this earth, and the cosmic relatives of the spirit realm.
Friday, June 23, 2006
A Lakota Sioux Sundance Dedicated for Jason's Healing: Background



I have been in SD south of Rapid City since June 14 staying in a cabin owned by Dow's cousins Loren and Gloria. A friend in Chicago had told me of a Sundance on the Rosebud Lakota Sioux Reservation in central South SD about 3 hours from where I am staying. Jane a Jungian analyst knew friends were attending the Sundance and invited me to "stop there" and see if I would want to participate as this four day Sundance was for healing.

Personal Disclaimer:
This entry is a report of my physical, emotional, spiritual experiences and participation in a Sundance ritual for Jason's healing of mind, body and emotions. This is a "rough draft" of the experience as I know I will ponder its impact again and again in the future. I do believe that G-d is everywhere: in whom we live and move and have our being. We and all creation are born, live and die in G-d. I begin to write this reflection the morning after a quiet drive from the Sundance through the Badlands. I was told to "stay grounded" after experiencing the day of Sundance. Driving in the quiet across the National Grasslands of SD with the setting sun before me enabled me to do so on Thursday. This entry is my recollection of the information given to me by the Jungian analysts, dance leaders, and family members who were present and participating in the Sundance rituals. Any mistakes are due to my faulty memory. This is the first time that I have ever attended a Native American ritual. I am including the details because I assume that almost all of the readers of Jason's blog have not had the opportunity to attend a Sundance.

Jungian Analysts
These are my thoughts and reflections as to why Jungian analysts were deeply involved in the Sundance ritual as I have been in Jungian analysis for 8 years. Carl Jung was Freud's pupil who broke with him and focused his own life's work on studying " "the healthy person" One of Jung's important psychological insights is that we are all born with patterns of behavior: mental, physical and most importantly psychological. (DNA research is now revealing that at least 50% of behavior is inherited) These patterns include a relationship with God, in Jung's term the Self with a capital S. Jung called the expression of these patterns archetypes. We are all born into a culture, religion, ethnic group etc. These will "shape" the expression of the archetype of Self into different outwardly rituals, prayers, beliefs, religions, etc. It is important to realize that the source of the search for God and the expression of the relationship is the same, the archetype of Self within each of us. In Jungian insight every soul is female and women have an innate ability to connect with the Self for this reason, women are feminine in soul and gender. For men, the journey inward to God is more difficult for the guide to the Self comes most clearly as the feminine, the anima.
I have been in SD south of Rapid City since June 14 staying in a cabin owned by Dow's cousins Loren and Gloria. A friend in Chicago had told me of a Sundance on the Rosebud Lakota Sioux Reservation in central South SD about 3 hours from where I am staying. Jane a Jungian analyst knew friends were attending the Sundance and invited me to "stop there" and see if I would want to participate as this four day Sundance was for healing.

Personal Disclaimer:
This entry is a report of my physical, emotional, spiritual experiences and participation in a Sundance ritual for Jason's healing of mind, body and emotions. This is a "rough draft" of the experience as I know I will ponder its impact again and again in the future. I do believe that G-d is everywhere: in whom we live and move and have our being. We and all creation are born, live and die in G-d. I begin to write this reflection the morning after a quiet drive from the Sundance through the Badlands. I was told to "stay grounded" after experiencing the day of Sundance. Driving in the quiet across the National Grasslands of SD with the setting sun before me enabled me to do so on Thursday. This entry is my recollection of the information given to me by the Jungian analysts, dance leaders, and family members who were present and participating in the Sundance rituals. Any mistakes are due to my faulty memory. This is the first time that I have ever attended a Native American ritual. I am including the details because I assume that almost all of the readers of Jason's blog have not had the opportunity to attend a Sundance.

Jungian Analysts
These are my thoughts and reflections as to why Jungian analysts were deeply involved in the Sundance ritual as I have been in Jungian analysis for 8 years. Carl Jung was Freud's pupil who broke with him and focused his own life's work on studying " "the healthy person" One of Jung's important psychological insights is that we are all born with patterns of behavior: mental, physical and most importantly psychological. (DNA research is now revealing that at least 50% of behavior is inherited) These patterns include a relationship with God, in Jung's term the Self with a capital S. Jung called the expression of these patterns archetypes. We are all born into a culture, religion, ethnic group etc. These will "shape" the expression of the archetype of Self into different outwardly rituals, prayers, beliefs, religions, etc. It is important to realize that the source of the search for God and the expression of the relationship is the same, the archetype of Self within each of us. In Jungian insight every soul is female and women have an innate ability to connect with the Self for this reason, women are feminine in soul and gender. For men, the journey inward to God is more difficult for the guide to the Self comes most clearly as the feminine, the anima.

I think for Jungian analysts the desire to touch the Self and experience an exploration of the human relationship to God outside European Western religion and culture would be an imperative. This is exactly what Jung did in his travels looking for the patterns giving rise to the lived religious life of the world's indigenous peoples.

A Lakota Sioux Sundance Dedicated for Jason's Healing



The Setting
The Sundance is being held on the property of Florentine's Lakota Sioux Grandmother's property. Found after much searching and asking by taking a drive turning at a closed wooden RC church named St. Rose. Grandmother foretold Florentine "doing things" down there. "There" being a meadow below a hill, lower bluff (location of parking, kitchen, and sleeping tents) and below an open space, I would call a meadow. From the camp of the Jungians about 10 steps were cut away in the dirt of the bluff leading to the back of the dance area and a guard rail installed. The day was perfect, cooler under the trees with the camp on the bluff and very warm in the dance area. Blue sky with clouds abound providing shade intermittently during the dance rounds. About 200 persons attend the dance over the four days.

The Sundance is held at this location once each year, it is the Florentine Sundance, named after the lead dancer. The dance has been held at the site for 13 years. The Sundance is situated in the center of a circle. The circle being formed by shade arbors, once covered by pine boughs now covered with plastic tarp to keep from cutting trees each Sundance. Within the circle created by the arbors, an inner circle is created by foot high red sticks each hung with a tobacco offering wrapped in a red cloth. There is " a gate" marked by two higher white sticks in this circle in the direction of the South, North, East and West. The gates/color of directions are also the four colors of humanity: red, white, black and yellow. For the Lakota the East must not be crossed during the dance so it is blocked off with tape and no one either dancer or audience can cross. The Lakota believe that all energy enters the Sacred Circle through the east and must not be transgressed by a human.

The Sundance Days
This Sundance lasts for four days. It is offered for personal and community healing of the tribe and especially the intentions of those who participate. It is open to outsiders and many whites were present. The Sundance consists of rounds of dance lasting 30 to 40 minutes with about 45 minutes of break in between from about 6 to 6 PM. The dance has drummers, very large 4 or 5 feet across with about 4 drummers to the drum and a number of singers. The musicians change during the day. No jewelry or glasses are to be worn if you are dancing, nothing that sparkles is allowed in the circle. No photography, audio recording or note taking is permitted. No one except the lead dancers can go near the tree except when one makes a flesh offering. Between dances the leaders may speak about the dance, or share personal stories of meaning or teaching about the dance and Sioux spiritual life. There are no watches or program schedule so the pace flows at a natural progression and changes can be made as necessary by the leaders.

The Days:
1. The 30 foot poplar tree is decorated with the prayer flags of each of the dancers. Bundles of tobacco and flesh offerings are also tied to the tree. The tree is set in place with a liver of a buffalo at the base of the pit, the Sioux being dependent on the buffalo for their individual and communal life. The tree (male) is thrust into the Earth (feminine). From earth and sky all life comes and the tree symbolizes the connection of both; all of creation including humanity. It is painted ochre the color of Indian skin. The flags are large pieces of cloth, red white, green, and blue. At about 6 feet a series of flags encircles the trunk and covers the flesh offerings tied in red 1 1/2 inch bundles also encircling the trunk.

2. The second day is dedicated to the Sacred Pipe of the Lakota Sioux. On my arrival I was told there would be no body piercing today. I was glad as I had great reservations in my ability to watch this part of the ritual. Fred told me something akin to this, "It is not torture but a ritual that connects the dancer more closely with all the suffering of humanity and the evolutionary suffering of all creation itself." (It was very good to have a Jungian as a guide to the Sundance. Fred and his wife Karen have been coming to the Sundance for 20 years. This was the day I attended the Sundance)

3. The third day all the dances are dedicated for healing. I was not present for this day.

4. The fourth day the tree and all ceremonial items are taken down. The flags are given to community members for making of blankets. The tobacco from the bundles is smoked "releasing the community's Sundance prayers to God." (I am sorry I do not know what is done with the flesh offerings. I assume the offerings are disposed of respectfully.)

The Dancers
The dancers come from several groups. The men wear red skirts and decorated beaded belts. The women wear long red dresses and skirts/shawls with fringe. No jewelry or glasses can be worn. One group are the four Lakota Sioux leaders including a woman from the Women's Group. Another group is the male dancers from the tribe itself. There are women dancers from the tribe or friends. Some of the dancers were white and came from Germany and Italy. Some were Vietnam veterans. Two dancers were pierced, one in his back and one on his front. These men were tethered to the tree during the dances by ropes connected to their body piercing. The men controlled their own movements either tightening or loosening the ropes as they danced on the ground opposite of each other with the tree in the center.

Flesh Offering
An individual may choose to make a flesh offering. This offering is a "symbol of the gift of myself for and a joining in the suffering of and a prayer for the other." Because of the time it takes, an individual may make between 1 to 4 flesh offerings. I chose to make a flesh offering for Jason's continued healing of mind, body and emotions.

I was escorted to the arcade by Nancy after a morning dance and was met by Fred who takes the flesh offering under sterile conditions. It is a small piece of flesh about 1/4 inch and just deep enough that the wound bleeds. I chose the right shoulder as Jason's right arm is amputated. I was given the Indian pipe (belonging to and used by Fred) to hold and pointed toward the west "The beginning direction for the Sioux" I held the pipe, closed my eyes and began to weep in sorrow for Jason's wounding in combat. Fred said, "Pray to the God you know for Jason's healing, while I do this." "It is done." I opened my eyes and on a very small piece of red cloth, about 1/4 long was my flesh. A patch of sage was placed on my wound to stop the bleeding and the 1 1/2 inch square bundle tied with string.

I was taken to be smudged, a woman was by the outside entrance to the dancer's arbor with a can of burning pine/sage. She held the can and I "purified" myself by moving the smoke over my body with my hands. Previously before the offering I had purified myself with steam. Two young men watched a large bonfire that kept rocks hot. They would pick out a rock on a pitchfork, bring it to you, pour water over it and one would cleanse one's self with the steam as with the smoke/incense.

One of the dancers from Italy, I believe Albert, was to be my escort to the tree. You do not touch the dancers during any of the rituals. He had a hard red bracelet, looking like fabric over wire, that I was to grasp so I did. He led me through the dancer rest area, out to the dance circle through the west gate where we both turned clockwise around and were smudged again with smoke as we entered. He led me to the tree. We were the only persons in the circle. I carried the offering bundle tied with string long enough to let me tie it to the tree. I also carried Jason's album of photos of his healing journey at WR. He lifted up the flags tied to my face height and I tied the bundle to the tree. I said a prayer for Jason's continued healing and was escorted back through the gate and rest area. I was smudged again as I existed the area.

My Introduction to the Community and Request for Prayers
A little later I was told I was to go to the singer/drummer area for an introduction. Jeff one of the analysts dressed in the dance costume made a "formal" introduction of me and my reason for being here. "Katy has a son named Jason who was seriously injured in Iraq last October. She has come to request our prayers for his healing. Please join in her prayers."

The Use of the Sacred Ceremonial Pipe for Jason's Healing
I returned to camp only to be told, "Come the leaders want you to "load the pipe."" Again I was escorted this time by Karen to a break area behind the dance circle. It was separated off by a tarp. We would be hidden from persons walking through the area. Fred said, "We have not done this before at a dance. This is a special honor." I was to pack the pipe and present it to the four leaders of the Sundance. Fred opened a small tobacco pouch, gave me the pipe to hold in my left hand facing west and said we would load the pipe from each of the six directions includes up (sky) and down (earth). I was to pray for Jason's healing all through this “packing the pipe." Fred reassured me that Jason would be healed. I am sorry I cannot remember what he said for each direction. Fred took a twig from the pouch to "tamp the tobacco down." The tobacco was a mixture that included sage-which I could identify.

I would take a pinch of the tobacco, extend my hand in the direction I was told and place in the pipe. Fred would then tamp the tobacco down each time. "Use big pinches" he encouraged me. As I lifted my hand to each direction I could feel power gather and come with the tobacco "into the pipe bowl." It was like holding wind and bringing it into the bowl. Fred added one direction that especially touched my heart. "Gather the circle of elders and all that lives on the earth." I made a circle in the air around me, placed the tobacco in the bowl and felt in the center of the community of believers past, present and future. I was now in Sacred space and time. I was participant and priest.

I was led to the South gate by Karen. She stood at my left, I asked, "Please do not let me do anything disrespectful of the ritual or people." Florentine and Fred and the other dance leaders came through the West gate and approached us. I was to offer the pipe to each person four times. I did so while the drums played and singers chanted. Each person before me was beautiful as I looked at them and they looked away (Indian cultural norm). The Indian woman head of the Women's Group was dressed in blue, not red. I believe Florentine took the pipe and all the leaders went to the tree. Karen said, "Fred is representing you in the smoking of the pipe." The sharing of the pipe took a few minutes. The leaders/priests were smoking this pipe for Jason's healing.

Then the leaders again approached me for the reverse of the ritual, once smoked the pipe was returned to the giver/supplicant. I cannot adequately describe my experience in the return of the pipe to me, I can only try. Each leader presented the pipe to me 4 times. I felt at one with them and the God of All. I looked at each as they handed me the pipe and thought "Namaste," meaning "The God in me greets the God in you." I knew each person had joined with me in praying for Jason's healing. I looked at each person overwhelmed by their beauty and their spirituality. I felt deeply saddened that white men had smoked this pipe, wrote treaties and broke the covenants made within the Sacred reality of Indian spirituality. I felt our participation in this ritual had reworked the broken bonds of trust and helped to heal them. I know in my soul, I asked forgiveness for what whites had done to Native Americans. (An unexpected spiritual experience (always a sign that this is not "of Katy's doing." As this ritual is for healing we should not be surprised that healing of memories between the peoples could occur if we are open and seek it.)

I was astonished, awed, humbled as I received the pipe from Florentine and the dancers walked away together. Fred remained behind and took the pipe from me. Karen led me back to the audience arbor.

Introduction by Florentine
In a few minutes Florentine came to the microphone and began to present my and Jason's story to the people present. He spoke in terms of all veterans and their service to the country and how we should honor them. Most emphatically he emphasized that this "white woman, white mother from Chicago found us to ask our prayers for healing of her white boy injured in Iraq." I was not offended by these terms but understood them to mean that I was an outsider who respected the power and spirituality of the Lakota Sioux and was sincerely asking for their help. I wanted to join with them as we prayed together for Jason's healing.

Then Florentine told us, "I may be out of order, but my grandmother used to sing a blessing for the men before they left for war. I would like to do this for this white mother and her son" Then he sang this beautifully haunting chant. I felt deeply humbled that Florentine would do this for Jason (and brings tears to my eyes again as I remember offering). Florentine spoke about all the tribal members who were present and were honored as serving in the military. He dedicated the next dance for Jason and me, for our healing and for all the veterans who were present.

Karen said, "We must give an offering to the drummers and singers" she went and returned with money that I pressed into the hand of Francis the leader of the drummers.

The Sundance for Jason's Healing
Karen and I went to the back of the dancers arbor to be smudged and wait to be called to the circle. We would peek through the cloth walls of the arbor and see who was being called to the dance. First the leaders, then the vets were placed in front of the west gate about 8 in all, then the men, the women and then friends of dancers. As we stood more vets would come and quickly be smudged and enter the dance circle; the word was spreading that the veterans were to be honored during this dance.

Finally I was called to the circle. I entered holding one of the leader's, named Scott, eagle wing ties of brightly tanned deer hide ribbons. We turned in the center of the gate and were smudged again. Scott led me to the tree to pray again for Jason. This time I carried the photo album of Jason's healing journey at WR. I squatted down at the tree and Scott placed the prayer flags over me. I prayed for Jason's healing and felt surrounded by the leaders. I felt the eagle wings brush my back on the left side and the right side. I stood up and Scott led me back to the circle. I was immediately in front of the vets and the leader sent a woman vet to be on my left, I assume for support and direction. I was very pleased to have her by my side. "Don't worry they will tell us what to do" she smiled.

The drumming and the chant began with strong clear voices and beat. During the dance, the two men were tethered to the pole and both danced with vigor. I felt them connected to the suffering of Jason and all those who suffer from war, especially the veterans who were dancing. Behind me I felt the strong male presence of the veterans who were dancing. I felt them as "buffalo energy" like you see in pictures of horses shaped from the waves of the ocean. The dancers' energy was "formed as the buffalo." I was intrigued by this experience knowing that the collective life of the Sioux is intricately and intimately connected to the buffalo. Sometimes I cried and blessings to Florentine as he would come to me and wipe my tears with his red handkerchief and give me words of encouragement, "Pray for your son, be strong." All I could say is "Thank you."

Often during the dance, all would raise their arms to the heavens, a gesture I understand as praise. During this time I would hold Jason's photo album with both hands and raise it to G-d, offering prayers for him and thanking G-d for Jason's life. All the colors I could see; the tree and its flags and bundles, the sky and the quality of sunlight, the dancers' clothes and the color of their skin were more alive and vibrant than I have ever experienced. It was as if it were a weaving of prayer and meaning most pleasing to the Universe. I could get lost in the color, my soul drank it in. I do not know how long the dance lasted. We were all led out in reverse order of entrance back to the dancers’ arbor.

After I entered the shade a reception line formed. All the veterans wanted to meet me and I thought that I should thank them individually. I shook hands and hugged them and thanked them for their service and participation in the dance. Then the women came and I did the same with all those who wanted to greet me. They assured me of their continued prayers for Jason. Florentine asked to see the pictures and with Fred looked at them. Then he said, "Can't look at anymore." I was escorted from the tent and returned to the camp.

Affirmation
Later Tom told me, "Did you hear, one of the drummers saw a spotted eagle. He flew overhead during the dance. It was a sign." I replied, "It is good, the eagle is a sign that our prayers are accepted as a suitable offering to G-d." I later looked up a "spotted eagle" which is not a species but an immature bald eagle. I was pleased, for me this means Jason's young soul "soars on the prayers we offered for his healing."





Invitation
When we were in the arbor after the dance, Florentine said, "Please invite Jason to come next year! You come back too." I was so honored that Florentine invited Jason. I pray that Jason and Jodi when they are ready would attend the Sundance and meet their new brothers and community of friendship. May Jason reap the healing and blessings of this Sundance for the rest of his life.
Thankfulness
I have no adequate way to express my deepest thanks to Florentine and the Lakota Sioux, for Fred and Karen, for the Jungians, for all the dancers for inviting, for accepting me into the community, and joining with me in prayers for healing. All I can say is "Namaste" and Many, many blessings for the journey for each of you and for the Beloved community for we are all one.

Post Reflection especially for Roman Catholics:
I love liturgy and many aspects of the Lakota Sioux religious ritual awakened in me a comparison with the Roman Catholic ritual of the mass. I was struck because of the archetype mentioned earlier is clearly expressed/experienced in both rituals. In other words Jung is right J Again these are my beginning reflections.

The total Sundance is the communal prayer and praise to G-d the Creator. I did not experience a focus on one person (priest). The dance leaders were not alone but always with others and the community within the circle (church) danced. Even those under the "audience arbors" would dance in place, although not all did.

1. The tree in the center decorated and created by the community. I immediately experienced it as an altar for RC's where sacrifice is offered and the center for communal worship.
2. The flesh offering: we call the liturgy, "The sacrifice of the mass" The Sioux use a very small piece of flesh as an "offering of self for others", as Jesus offered himself for others.
3. The smudging with steam or herbs. For me the natural connection is the signing of the cross with holy water when we enter or exit a church. Also the incensing of the congregation and sacred objects as during Easter service.
4. Offering and smoking of pipe. I experienced the pipe offering to be the Offertory, consecration and communion . The pipe itself is a vessel akin to an incense burner in the Jewish tradition used in the Temple. A gift is brought from the community, is blessed and offered. It is transformed by the smoking of the tobacco from object to prayer. It is given back to the community. For me communion was created in the return of the pipe to me, a representative of the community.
5. When Florentine wiped my face during the Sundance, I felt him as Veronica wiping the face of Jesus on the way to Calvary. I think this act of compassion is at the Heart of the Roman Catholic and Lakota Sioux spirituality and liturgy. I can think of no other greater connection to the Creator of All.

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