He stood in the deepest place. He stood in a place that was closest to the core. He stood in the sacred place and held the eagle feather. He raised the feather to the sky people, to the guardians of the world above.
“I pray to you, people of the sky, be with us this week. Stay with us and keep us safe.” The shaman spoke in the old language, his voice rising and falling. It was neither querulous nor weak. No one hearing it would guess his age.
Hundreds of warriors watched silently, sitting in the deepest place. Grandfather turned to the four directions, one by one.
“I pray to you, guardians of the North, for the strength to overcome the cold time, to get us through the hard time. Let the People come to this last Meeting. Let them come with clear eyes to see what is here. Let them see the Great One, behind and beyond and through all places and directions.”
Let them give up their strife and fault finding, the old man prayed silently. Let them stop picking each word I say apart. Let them see you, O Great One, and stop fighting me. I am your tool and your soldier, nothing more.
Grandfather swayed on his feet, feeling the Presence of the One. O Great One! You who fills all the earth, and the stars; the things that we can see, and the things that we cannot see. I love you! I praise you! I worship you!
“Let the People feel the river of love this week. Let each of them learn what he came here to learn. Let each learn what she came to learn. Take away the darkness, O Lord, and bring us your light.”
He turned to the East. “I praise you, guardians of the East. Give us your power, the power of new life, the power of spring over winter, of awakening. Watch over us and give us victory.”
Give us victory over the intruders from the outside, and over the intruders from the inside, he prayed within his heart. Free us from our poisonous thoughts and feelings, from the desire to see only small things and differences. Let us see that we are the same. As you are the One, so we are one.
Bud Creeman stood next to Grandfather, circulating the smoke with his feather fan. He let out a piercing cry. “I see you, Great One! I see you!” He raised his hands high.
The old man turned and held the eagle feather over his head. “I praise you, great Southern warriors. I praise you with great love. Thank you for your peace, your serenity. Your plenty, the plenty of summer and the good harvest. Be with us this week, show us your bounty.”
Let us accept your bounty with graciousness and love, he prayed. Let us recognize a great gift when it may appear small, or not what we wanted, or not a gift at all.
Then Grandfather turned to the Western gate, the passage between this world and the other side. “Watcher of the Gate, let us die and die again, the little deaths that mean growth and change. Let the parts of us that need to die go, and the parts that need to live stay. May we pass through your doorway in glory when the last dying comes!”
And may our visitors from the great corporation get what they need this week. May they have the love and courage they need; may they have the will to die and be reborn.
He sang in the old language, his voice rising over the Bowl. He stood in the deepest part—in the amphitheater they called the Pit—where the meteor struck long before the dawn of days. Grandfather knew that the meteor did not give the Power. The Power was there before anything. The Power made everything.
“I love you, I worship you, I praise your name and glory. Be with me all of my days. Protect us, O Great One, from our enemies inside and outside.”
He sat cross-legged on the earth. The warriors were around. Rapture overcame him, followed by tears of joy as they rose from the bliss inside. Like a sun, came the Great One; like the sun of suns, splitting his heart in two, tearing him in pieces until the bliss was so great that the universe broke open and he dropped, a shining pearl, a brilliant diamond, dropped into the nothing that exists beneath all that is.
He heard no more until the sun was high.