He stood in the deepest place. He stood in the 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, to the sky people, to the guardians of the world above.
“I pray to you, people of the sky, be with us this week, this week be with us. 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.
Grandfather acted like he was alone, but all the warriors were around him, watching in the predawn. Bud Creeman fanned the smoldering herbs, spreading the smoke’s blessing to all the directions. Hundreds of warriors watched silently, sitting in the deepest place. He 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 through the hard time. To do what is needed to survive. Let my People come this week. 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 faultfinding, 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. Oh, Great One! You who fills all the earth, 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, oh 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 us and give us victory.”
Give us victory over the intruders from the outside, over the intruders from the inside, he prayed in his silent heart. Free us from the poison 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 feathers. He let out a piercing cry. “I see you, Great One! I see you!” He raised his hands high.
The warriors shuffled softly, feeling Bud’s ecstasy.
“I turn to the South,” the old man turned and held the 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.”
And then to the West, 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, he voiced silently. May they have the love they need, the courage they need; may they have the will to die and be reborn.
He sang in the old language, voice rising over the Bowl. He stood in the deepest part of the Bowl, in the place they called the amphitheater, the Pit. Where the meteor stuck 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.
He stood in the dirt before the stage his followers had constructed. He would be on that stage all the coming week. Now was time for the old ways, for the earth. His feet rested on the ground. His feet worshipped the guardians of the world below. He invoked their presence. He invoked their protection.
He was in the sacred place, the sacred Mogollon Bowl, the place of visions, the place of the Ancestors, the place of the Great One.
“O Great One, you fill the earth from end to end, from top to bottom, from all the directions. You fill us as the weaver fills her loom. You fill us like the breath fills our lungs. Like the breath makes us move and gives us life. You are the life, oh Great One. Our life, the life of all the world. The life of the land, of the stars and planets, and the worlds beyond worlds.
“I love you, I worship you, I praise your name and glory. Be with me all my days. Protect us, oh Great One, from our enemies inside and outside.”
He sat cross-legged on the earth. The warriors were around. Rapture came to him. Tears of joy came to him. Tears of joy 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 two 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.
Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem
Book II of the Bloodsong Series
Due for release in 2013. More info: Sandy Nathan’s site
Sandy Nathan © 2012 All rights reserved.