Myth & Lore

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The Vision of Bear Butte
From Legends of the Mighty Sioux

A great ceremony that caused much history took place about 1849 when several bands of Sioux were going to the Black Hills. They were going there to gather wild fruits and cut poles for their teepees.

Camp was made at the foot of a great hill. In the dark of night the father of Crazy Horse walked away from the sleeping village. He climbed to the top of the hill to talk with the Great Spirit. The father of Crazy Horse was a good man. He performed the magic secrets of a holy man.

On this night the father of Crazy Horse raised his hands to the sky and called for the guidance of the Mighty Spirit. He stood all night at the top of the hill, making sad sounds and singing.

The next night the old man called together the leaders of the tribes in the council lodge. A ceremonial pipe was filled and passed to each of the tribe's wise old men.

The father of Crazy Horse told his vision thus: "Last night the Mighty Spirit appeared to me in the form of a bear. He gave to me powers to conquer all earthly beings, including the white men who are coming into our land. I am in my declining years, so I choose to give my great spiritual gift to my son, Crazy Horse, who is young and strong. He will use the gift of the Mighty Spirit to be a great leader of the Sioux."

From this time on the sharply rising hill was known as Mato Paha, Bear Butte.

The spiritual power that was given to Crazy Horse as a sacred obligation at Bear Butte is believed by the Sioux to have helped to bring about the complete destruction of the troops of General "Yellow Hair" Custer in a battle called Custer's Last Stand.

Addition contributed by Watchituga:
I'm interested in Crazy Horse anyway. One thing about this story is that it is about one person who happened to be destined to become a great leader and a great warrior, but I think everyone has the capability to make their own contribution in their own way. At the time of Crazy Horse, the Native Americans were under great threat of destruction of themselves and their way of life and it was necessary for them to take aggressive action in order to try to survive. In the future we will with the right intent increasingly have an opportunity to bring all peoples together as one human tribe, and move towards ensuring that everything else is cared for and to maintain future survival of all things in harmony. I think that it will increasingly become realized that we are all one and that we all share the same ancestors and the same descendants and have a common global interest, and that the pace of change for the better will accelerate.

I hope this isn't getting too far off topic, but this also reminds me of other things which I find of interest and of some relevance to some other recent discussions. Crazy Horse once had a vision (told by Black Elk, I think) in which his horse was standing still and moving at the same time. Someone has likened this to Schrodinger's explanation of Quantum Mechanics. Some have said that this is what the word which has been translated as "crazy" was referring to and doesn't really mean crazy at all. It has been claimed that the markings painted on Crazy Horse during battle were in accordance with that vision and that that he believed that no bullets could harm him when he was painted and decorated as in the vision. The first time Crazy Horse went into battle after the vision he took two scalps and he received a bullet wound. His father told him that this was because he had displeased the spirits, and after that he never took another scalp and was never hurt in battle again.

Crazy Horse was also reported to have given a prophecy four days before he died. There are slight variations dotted around the internet but it goes something like: "Upon suffering beyond suffering; the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of seven generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things, and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be as one."

I imagine that the last two sentences in particular have considerable meaning for you Cinnamon. When I was growing up, a lot of the spirits all told similar stories about people drifting apart (the three, the four, the six, the six thousand) and stories about people coming back together again in the future (I later found that some of them were pre-existing stories). The interesting thing is that most of them put their own lifetime belief systems / cultures at the center of the action in achieving future unity. However, I think that many different belief systems all have something to contribute. The important thing is that beliefs should be an inspiration for unity and acceptance of the multiple gifts and multiple realities amongst people rather than, as is sometimes the case, being used as a source of division and as a reason for perceiving worth in one more than another. But people often focus on differences and build their own perceptions of their sense of worth and ideas of fairness, based on their own individual circumstances, perceptions and talents. These are different for each of us and the emphasis tends to be on material, economic and political (and even belief system) competition. This can lead to intolerance, misunderstandings, disrespect and a perpetuation and increase of inequalities.

I thought about this when you wrote about the eagle. The eagle has many feathers which are all different and serve slightly different purposes, but they all contribute in their own way to help the eagle to stay warm in the winter and achieve balance and versatility in flight. But each feather contains the DNA of the eagle within it. I think everything within the universe and in particular all people are like that, and that all people are similar but each have their own unique potentials and their own place in the scheme of things, and that deep inside they all contain the same universal code.

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