This morning a beautiful Lakota healing song showed up in my YouTube feed. I didn’t understand a word, but it brought tears to my eyes. If there was ever a time when many of us–the entire planet, actually– needs it, it is now.
It also had special meaning because it fits perfectly with a scene in book 2, “Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits.”
In Chapter 19, Leaping Elk, an Oglala Lakota medicine man, performs a healing ceremony for Charlie. You will meet Leaping Elk again in book 3. Here’s the excerpt:
BELTON MEDICAL CENTER
July 15, Sunday
Charlie sensed a presence. Opening his eyes failed. The soul-crushing weight remained, confirming he was alive, like amasani told him. Surely it didn’t hurt this much to be dead. Every breath filled his lungs with pain soaked in suffocating fire.
The realization someone was speaking in a grandfather voice stirred within his soul. The reverent, beseeching tone indicated prayer, but he couldn’t understand the words. Not Diné or Tsetsehestaestse, and certainly not English or Spanish.
Who was it?
Why was he there?
Mysteries and ceremonies came to men like Sweet Medicine from within the earth. Was that where he was?
Why else were some sounds muffled, others not? Though distinct, the man’s speech came as if from a great distance.
Perhaps he was within the earth. Swallowed by an angry Earth Mother.
The prayer ended and the man began to sing, accompanied by the rhythmic swish of a rattle. Even without understanding the language he recognized it as an honor song. Its healing effects settled upon him with an unexpected sense of peace.
The singing faded.
Again all was deathly still.
Here’s the song. Close your eyes and feel the words, even if you can’t understand them.
Some of the comments on YouTube explain the song is asking the Creator to have pity on us, that we understand our suffering is a vehicle to teach us something, and to please heal us.
There is so much to be learned from this beautiful culture. Teachings that we need today, more than ever before.
Image by Aline Berry from Pixabay