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Some of the 86 pages in this Myth & Lore section are below.
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Sixteen Lakota Mysteries
*This was passed onto me long ago
and I thought I'd share it. I don't have the source for the
article itself but the teachings are in keeping with the training
I've received in Lakota ways.
0). Wakan Tanka - Great Spirit- represents
The Source - Wakan Tanka is the Great Spirit, The Great Mystery,
the Grandfather and the Creator of all things. Always has been,
always will be, all that is. Everything created, the act of
creation itself.. These are aspects of the Great Spirit, the
One; and One is Wakan, Holy. Anything that has birth must have
death. The Spirit is not born but given to one at birth, and
it is Wakan. Therefore one's Spirit will never die.
1). The Superior: Wi (Sun)- represents
Personal Power- According to Lakota tradition, the Creator,
Wakan Tanka, was alone in an endless, timeless place. The Creator
decided to create Spirit forces through which the universe would
be created. Thus the Sixteen Great Mysteries. The first was
Wi, who from pure Spirit became the elemental energy of Light
and Life, the teacher, the sustainer. Wi was transformed into
the sun, with the power to provide energy for the earth to produce
the substance of life.
2). The Superior: Skan (Motion)
- represents Manifestation- Skan, the second spirit set forth
from Wakan Tanka became the Motion of all things. Skan set the
stars and planets moving on their paths and released the winds
to travel across the universe. Skan enters the body with the
spirit and sets in motion the breath and blood of new life.
All that is created is in motion. The seas, the clouds, the
trees, and all that live within and upon the earth move in a
dance to the radiance of the One who created all things -Wakan
3). The Superior: Maka (Mother Earth)
- represents Birth- The third Spirit to emerge from Wakan Tanka.
Took the form of Earth. Maka is the spirit and essence of feminine
energy, the source and substance of life, She is the spirit
of all that gives forth and sustains life on earth. In Lakota
tradition, Wkan Tanka took all the colors of light and, putting
them together, created the sacred brown of Mother Earth. Skan,
blew water onto the earth to create the oceans and seas. And,
Inyan, Spirit of Equilibrium, came as stone to support the earth,
holding her together. Lakotas say "Maka-say-elo" all
things upon this earth are endless.
4). The Superior: Inyan (Stone)
- represents Support- The fourth creation, the force of equilibrium,
the foundation and support of the body of Maka, Mother Earth.
All stones in your path are alive. The rock, the mountain, and
all minerals are the material body of Inyan. Inyan Ska, the
quartz crystal, lives and grows within the dark interior of
the earth and carrying this dark energy becomes clear.
5). The Associate: Hanwi (Moon) -
represents Reflection- In the Lakota story of creation, Maka
traveled around Wi who warmed and lighted but half her body.
Maka asked Wi to warm the side that was cold and dark. Wi created
from himself Hanwi, Grandmother Moon, and placed her on the
far side of the Earth so that the Sun's light, reflected, would
comfort and illumine the earth's dark side. Han is "darkness"
and wi is "sun". Hanwi ceremonies in darkness as she
crosses the night sky. Certain ceremonies and rituals are performed
with the night energies, The energies of darkness
and the energies of light complement each other. Through the
light of the sun and the light of the moon, Wakan Tanka gives
us the sacred Balance of Energies.
6). The Associate: Tate (Wind) -
represents Change- Skan created Tate. Tate began to blow across
the earth carrying the seed of the Life Force, blowing it into
the waiting human, the waiting plant. The force of Tate is carried
within the seed and passed down through generations.
7). The Associate: Unk (Satisfaction
& Passion)- To Walk In Balance- Maka created Unk to feed
her children the passion and satisfaction of life. Unk is the
yearning and delight between lovers, between a person and a
beloved activity or thing, between a person and spiritual understanding.
The balance inherent in passion is the balance among mental,
physical, and spiritual needs we must satisfy in order to feel
8). The Associate: Wakinyan (Thunderbeings)-
Energy- Inyan created Wakinyan, who became the Thunderbeings,
the force of electricity on the earth. Wakinyan is spirit who
controls the essence of the clouds, the motion of hurricanes,
tornadoes, and storms. In Lakota language, wa is the flying
of the snow and inyan is stone. Wakinyan is the physical electricity
that comes from water, the earth, and the air, building up to
create thunder and lightning. Thunderbeings, represented as
the Thunderbird, are honored by many tribes. Wakinya flies without
eyes, without ears, without mouth, without nose. Even in visions,
no one can behold Wakinyan whole. Those to whom he comes in
dreams become Heyoka, sacred clowns who do everything backward.
Wakinyan is the force of truth: He strikes down anyone who lies
while holding the Sacred Pipe. His spirit-eye opens with a flash
of lightning and the sound of thunder.
9). The Subordinate: Tatanka Oyate
(The Bison Nation/Man) - Attainment- The ninith Great Mystery
is the creation of humankind on the earth. The name Tatanka
does not convey the true spiritual immanence attached to the
bison. The ancient name Pte` meant "the people", "realizing
the highest form", and Tatanka Pte`, "the people of
the bison", signifies the interrelationship of the bison
with the people who used every part of the great beast for sustenance.
The White Buffalo Calf Woman, Pte` San Wi, is the prophet who
came to teach the sacred ways to the people; her gifts of the
Sacred Pipe and it's ceremony are also derived from the spiritual
energy of the buffalo. The sacred song says: "A Bison Nation
is walking, A Bison Nation is walking... I give you this beautiful
earth, and upon it you shall live and multiply. I give you the
Sacred Pipe, and with it you shall come to the center of the
earth. All that you ask shall be given to you."
10). The Subordinate: Tob Tob (Bear)
-Wisdom- As humanity expanded beyond instinctual knowing the
need for protection and wisdom had to take a new form. Tob means
"four". Tob Tob means "four times four",
the expanding progression, the wisdom of the four-legged animals,
extending to the extremes of the Four Directions, communicated
by the Four Winds. Tob Tob is the interrelatedness of the individual
within the matrix of creation, the personal truth within the
truth of the family, within the truth of the tribe, the nation,
the world, the universe. Through the wisdom of Tob Tob, Bear,
we come to recognize what is right for us as individuals. Bear
knows what plants and herbs to dig for sustenance, when to fight
and when to hibernate.
11). The Subordinate: Wani (The Four
Directions)- Lessons- Tate, Wind, sent his sons to create the
four Cardinal Points to the west, north, east, and south. Wani
has a deep spiritual meaning in Lakota
teachings. Wa means "snow" and ni means "life",
as if to say, "I am alive now". The snow melts into
the earth, helping all to live; it's seasonal passing nourishes
the Circle of Life. The dimensions of space and time established
by the Four Direction are the source of harmony and proportion
in the physical world- the means by which our senses teach us
the beauty of creation. Life is so beautiful, we must learn
to walk with life in a beautiful way.
12). The Subordinate: Yum (The Whirlwind)
- Love- Skan, Motion, and Hanwi, Moon, created from themselves
the Spirit called Yum, or Yumeni Wi-the most beautiful of all
Creations. Friction arose between Hanwi and Yum, and Yum was
put apart in a place of honor. She was made Goddess of the Sea,
Goddess of Love, Goddess of Sport, Goddess of Games. Her domain
lies within the sea and all bodies of water. Her force governs
all living things and presides in the love people feel. She
symbolizes all that moves in circles: the whirlwind, the cycles
of the seasons and of life, the planets, the stars.
13). The Inferior: Niyan (Spirit
of Man) - The Higher Self- Wakan Tanka created Niyan, the Human
Spirit, so that people would understand their life and death.
The Creator said, "I will give you a Spirit and you will
know that life is nothing but circles, the Universal Circle,
a circle without end. The Spirit is eternal and never stops
traveling the Circle of Life. The body I give you does not belong
to you. It belongs to Me, who created all things. The body I
give you belongs to the Earth Mother and it shall return to
her. When your life ends, your body will return to the Earth
and your Spirit will go on to the Spirit World.
14). The Inferior: Nagi (Ghost) -
Shadow Self- In Lakota tradition, the ghost is the shadow of
a human. Between the physical and the Spirit World is another
circle, an intermediate world for those who have not lived in
the world according to the Laws of Spirit. There are those who
have used or abused for personal gain, those who have taken
their own life or the life of another. Those spirits do not
enter the Spirit World. They are destined to walk the endless
circle of time. The only way they can go beyond the Circle of
the Ghost is by prayers and offerings of the living. The Spirit
World is for those who have lived according to the ways of the
Creator: harmony, balance, one mind, one prayer.
15). The Inferior: Sicun (Intellect)
- Discernment- As humanity grew into its role as caretaker of
the earth, the Great spirit gave humans intellect and the knowledge
of right and wrong. In modern times, the balance of intellect
and intuition has been lost. This imbalance has separated us
from our sisters and brothers, the four-leggeds, the winged
ones, those that crawl, and those that swim. It has separated
us from the elements and from the earth Mother. Using intellect
in rhythm with the heartbeat of Earth mother is to walk in balance.
16). The Inferior: Yumeni Whouha
(The Material) - Abundance- The Creator gave humanity the knowledge
of the material gifts of life: tools to hunt and forage, clothes
for warmth and expression, shelter from the elements and for
gathering together. Thus was given all that was necessary for
survival. In Lakota tradition, a person's wealth is measured
not by what one possesses but by what one gives away. A person
understands that cycles of change - times of scarcity and times
of abundance- are natural to this world and that the Great spirit
provides all that is, for all the people. The flow of material
possessions through our hands is known to be from
the bounty of the Creator, to be blessed and appreciated and
released into the cycles established by the Great Spirit.
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