Teachings by Henry Niese:
US and THE UNIVERSE: One of the Connections
All my relations. This Lakota Sioux phrase has suddenly come into common usage. It appears on T-shirts, bumper stickers, new-age journals, and native American publications, among other places. Reminds me of when the incomparable jazz musician Charlie "Yardbird" Parker died, and overnight the graffiti "BIRD LIVES" appeared all over New York City, and elsewhere.
Our intuition tells that there is a connection between us and the exterior world - that there is a relationship between all things in creation. We feel this in our hearts, but intellectually this relationship is difficult to grasp.
"All my Relations" in the Lakotta sense, refers not only to our blood relatives, including the birds and animals, but to plants, rocks, sun, moon, stars, in other words, the totality of the Creator's creation. It is difficult to truly understand our relation to a star or a flower. There is a simple way to help us understand this universal relationship, and there are many ways or paths to this sort of enlightenment. One way is based on the simplest of mathematics.
Leonardo Fibonacci, a 13th century Pisan mathematician/astronomer, formulated a beautifully simple progression of numbers. The series starts with 1. The next number is also 1. Adding these two numbers produces 2. Adding the preceeding produces 3. 2+3==5. 5+3=8. 8+5=13, and so on.
The ratio between each succeeding pair of numbers (1:1.618+) describes the ratio of the "Golden Section", a famous classical proportion, as well as the growth rate of many organisms, as seen in the seedhead of the sunflower, the end view of a pine cone, growth rings of clam shells, etc. The Fibonacci series of numbers is found over and over in plant growth. Looking at the seedhead of a sunflower, one will see that the seeds are arranged in 55 clockwise spirals, and 89 or 34 counterclockwise spirals, numbers adjacent to each other in the series. Likewise, in a daisy, pine cone and other natural forms, their structure is based on a combination of numbers from the Fibonacci series.
The Golden Section is expressed simplest as a rectangle of this ratio (i.e. 89x144, or any pair of adjacent numbers in the series), and is often used by artists to proportion their canvases. Much classical Greek sculpture depicted the human form in terms of the proportions of the Golden Section.
Given a choice of many rectangles, thin, wide, or squarish, tests have proven that most people will choose the rectangle expressing the 1:1.618 proportion, demonstrating, perhaps, an intuitive understanding of this universal relationship.
The Golden Section, expressed expressed as a logarithmic spiral, is not only seen in flower seedheads, but in spiral galaxies and the human and animal form. It is a universal pattern in nature. At least one theory suggests that electrical potential and life potential both follow Fibonacci's pattern.
Although Fibonacci formulated his series in the 13th century, the relationship between living things and geometry was observed by prehistoric people. Their observations, spirals, and other forms, were carved in bone or painted on cave walls at least 20,000 yeas B.C.E.
This is but one of the connections between us, the stars, and all living things. As the Lakota people say, MITAKUYE OYASIN - We are all relations!
The spirits are with us. It is so. They have been watching and helping us natural human beings since the days of our grandfathers and before. What are they? They are the spirits of the four winds, of the earth, the animals, birds, trees. The spirit of the water and the fire, the spirits of those who have gone before, the spirit of the thunders, the sun, moon. and morning star. And most mysterious powerful, and unknowable of all, the Great Spirit.
We pitiful humans can never know, or much less be, friends with the Great Spirit, the Creator of all, the Supreme Mystery, But his message and His messengers are everywhere, if we will only open our eyes and ears to them. The birds and the animals are His messengers, and the stones, and other things, A bird could even save your life if you paid attention, Each has something to say to us, mostly through appearance or actions, Rarely, under extraordinary circumstances they will speak in a voice we will understand.
The rocks might even sing to us in a way that could be understood by all present. How could a rock speak? It has no mouth or tongue, No lungs, or anything else, just rock. But the rock is the oldest thing there is, billions of years old. Like many spirits, it is perfect, and needs no arms, legs, or any of the things we humans need, It just is, Perhaps there are things with a consciousness and intelligence superior to ours. Rocks, the Earth, Sun and Moon just might be wiser than us common people.
Spirits appear in many different ways, sometimes as little lights, sometimes as human-sized figures, or tiny little figures, Sometimes in answer to intense prayer, they come as a disembodied voice, or even what seems to be a thought- a word or two. or complete sentences. Their message is not always understood at once, Sometimes they change, a human form becoming an animal, as White Buffalo Calf Woman did when She brought the pipe.
One thing they want is for us to learn to have respect, respect for them, for this sacred earth, respect for the whole Creation- people. animals, trees, everything, One way we show them that we remember and respect them is by offering little bits of our food to them before we eat, Then they see that we are generous- not stingy with our food. and they feel good about helping us. And we, who always ask for so much in our prayers to the spirits, can in this way also be giving something in return.
There is another world, and it is one with this one. It could be called the visionary world. In a lifetime, if a man or woman is lucky and does everything right, that person might spend a few seconds there, once or twice. Those few seconds will last a lifetime. It is a world of light and intense color. In those few seconds the visioner will see and understand the great preciousness of the most common and ordinary thing. Things we spend a lifetime ignoring or taking for granted. The Indians say Maka kin le Wakan- this Earth is Sacred. Those seconds will help you understand what that means. They will also make the reason and meaning of 'joy', 'praise', and 'rejoice' clear in your life.
Among other things, the Sundance is a celebration of the light, the light that bathes the physical world and allows us to see the marvels of this mysterious Earth, and the Light of the spirit that enters our minds and souls, giving us understanding and enlightenment. The Sundancers hope that if they can endure the four days dancing without food and water, keeping their concentration, that they will go beyond their ordinary selves and receive a great vision to help them understand the Mystery of Life, and to help others understand. We have eyes to see with, if only we will. The gift of seeing is truly and literally a miraculous gift.
The buffalo is the greatest of all the animals. He is something sacred, mysterious, powerful. Before they were systematically destroyed by the visitors from the East, the buffalo provided the people, especially the plains people, with most everything they needed. Food, clothing, shelter, tools, the thread by which the clothing and tipis were sewn together- all of these and more were gifts of the buffalo.
He is thought of as the animal of the plains, but in the old days his range included what is now New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, Turkey Tayac, the chief and medicine man of the Piscataways, had a set of buffalo horns that came from a skeleton found by the Monocacy River, near Frederick Md.
Imagine back in the old days, sitting in a tipi made of buffalo hide, sewn by buffalo sinew, wearing clothes made of buffalo skin, tanned by buffalo brains, eating buffalo ribs and drinking buffalo soup from the horn of a buffalo, a buffalo robe covering your lap. it is easy to see how the buffalo not only was the symbol of the world, but actually was the whole world, his different parts representing parts of the world.
His legs represent the four ages of the world. When those are gone, and
crashing down he comes, then the cycle of the ages comes to an end, They say
that he is standing now on only one leg, and that the end is near. The
purification will occur when he loses that last leg, Then the cycle will begin
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