Sunday, April 22, 2012

Singing across the spider strands

Singing across the spider strands

For several years there had been these dreams. I didn’t know what to make of them, really. I had tried to seek understanding by going to a teacher, a wise man, a medicine man, but that wasn’t my path. My journey kept taking me back home to the mountains and hills, rivers, streams, rocks and springs where water flowed up from the rocks. I walked amongst my people like a stranger in a strange land. They were as alien to me as I was to them.

And these dreams. They would show me how to do these activities that would alleviate physical problems others endured. I would wake up and wonder why I was being shown these things. I wasn’t a medicine man. I am an artist, poet, singer, dreamer, and lover who loves the
Old Ways
and wants to feel a part of the tribal mind that once was here. Finally in November, 1991, my oldest sister died of cancer. I had dreams about how to help her if she ever asked. She never did. I felt anger because she would rather die than ask for help through the
Old Ways
. To her it was evil. I didn’t know what to do with my anger. I vowed to Sun Dance for four years and pray. I went to a friend and asked for help to do this, as it is a Plains Indian ceremony and I am Cherokee. He agreed to help. I felt the need to go on the hill and pray for a vision as well. I wanted to ask spirit if I was supposed to use these dreams, this information, even though I did not consider myself a medicine man. I went on the hill during dogwood winter for three days and nights. I stood there in the wind on the top of a mountain with nothing but a pair of shorts on and a quilt my grandmother had made when she was still a young woman. I would raise up the Sacred Pipe and asked the Creator to take pity on me. “I am a child down here in this world. I don’t know what I am doing. Please forgive me and let me live in spite of my mistakes today. I mean no disrespect. I only wanted to ask for understanding about this one thing, these dreams.” I prayed hard. It was hard. It was cold. Several mornings there was frost. The wind blew all the time. In the middle of it a thunderstorm came all day and all night. I would watch from the mountain as the clouds come over the horizon, and then they would split and go to the north and south of me moving east. All night that night they would flash from the north and south. I got a little shower a few times. I prayed hard.

There is a little I can say about what I experienced up there 20 years ago. I’ve said just a little already along the way. It is who I am, so I really don’t need to talk about it that much, just do it. It became obvious real quick that I was supposed to be using the information that was coming through in dreams to help others, including my family. There was more information while I was up there, although I wasn’t praying for it. I got it anyway. Then one day of it up there things shifted into a strange sort of theme. It was like a dream of the future. I saw waves and layers and patterns of information about communicating with others across a web. I didn’t know much about the internet yet. It was still being invented. Over time I came to understand what all of this was about. I thought spirit would reveal things in vision like birds and animals in nature. It appears like spirit knows all about technology and will challenge a person to utilize all aspects of reality to help make this a better world to live in. I survived. That was the real answer to all my prayers. I was glad to be off that mountain and back amongst family and friends.

That summer I danced for four days at Sun Dance. I prayed for the spirit of healing that comes forward through various humans to help the People. I could tell that what I was doing was a little off the mark, but I prayed anyway. I knew the effort would result in my becoming aligned with what was most important in all of this. I kept asked that the Creator take pity on my and look the other way when I messed up. I am a child in this world. I know nothing. The next year was different. A new family member was in my life, my daughter, Margaret Olivia (Maggie) Loveday, born June 14, 1992. Other family matters disrupted my plans and I was only able to dance for one day that year. Family comes first. That is how it is in the
Old Ways
. It was okay. The next year I had to go to a different circle and friends and ask for help to honor my commitment. It was hard. Afterwards a friend told me that it was hard because I had to make up for missing three days the previous year. I also understood that praying for the healing energy and for my sister who had passed away was not helping anything. The most important thing I could do was pray for family. Always, no matter what, pray for family. From then on I prayed for family. I can’t make someone ask for help. I can only pray for them in that sacred manner related in the dreams if they ask for help. Otherwise, I need to leave them alone and let them walk their own journey and accept that it is their journey. But I can always pray for family, no matter what. It is a duty. It is what is in my heart. Honor the heart. Honor the Red Path, which is the path of the heart. The last year of my four year commitment my wife and daughter were beside me during part of the ceremony. My daughter fell asleep and had a child’s dream in the circle with me. That is who she is. That is her journey. I prayed.

Twenty years later it still hurts. The woman who had stood beside me many times from the “Stick Holding” ceremony, my sister’s funeral, ceremonies and other life events chose to walk a different path. Others who had asked for help and agreed to give back over time as part of their expression of gratitude gave back the least they could if at all, and most kept taking more than they gave from that point on until their journey took them in other directions as well. I worked hard to accept this and not become cynical or let it harden my heart. I still pray for acceptance every day. Some did great harm on their way out to other paths. In the fall of 2003 I entered into the 7th Challenge of the Seven Challenges a medicine man faces, as related to me by Rolling Thunder in the spring of 1991. For almost seven years the process went on where I lost everything. My marriage failed. I was unable to generate funds from my work. I lost the property I had taken ownership of in the manner of “white man’s law” after a breach of contract. I spent 15 months staying with my father and watching his health decline. Through it all I kept the altar I had been using to help other with through ceremony and I prayed for my family, especially Maggie. In January, 2010, I had an experience and knew that I had completed the 7th Challenge. I was homeless and sleeping on the floor of a back bedroom in a friend’s house trailer. I had no way to earn money and he wasn’t feeding me. I had to walk several miles to a community soup kitchen for free food twice a day except Sunday. On Sunday I could fast or come up with other ways to eat.

For the past nine years there have been many dreams but there are very few about information on how to help others with physical problems. I have enough information on that topic already. I could forget most of it and still have more information than I could ever use. Today the dreams are about the young people that will be coming to seek help in understanding their dreams. Unlike me, there will be someone they can go to. I had no one. That person I was seeking back in 1976 after my first vision to help me understand it and make sense of it and possibly use it in my life now looks back at me in the mirror. I am the person I was always seeking.

Today I don’t have the energy I had twenty years ago. Nor does anyone else my age. So what. In the
Old Ways
it is said that if someone asks for help and I have a reason to say “no”, then I can say “no”. If I don’t have a reason to say “No”, then I have to answer “Yes”. I have more reasons to say “No” today. Few ask. Last summer a friend whom had asked for help in the past came from Spain and offered tobacco and asked that we do a Pipe Ceremony. It was good to do this. In the dreams she will come back again some day. In the dreams I will be back home before this happens. I remain in exile today. On July 20, 2011 a woman offered me tobacco and asked for help. That request was responded to in the affirmative and she is under protection of those spirits that came forth in response to her request for a full year. She has faced great adversity already and she will face more adversity between now and July 20 of this year. Those who would seek to intervene and keep her from honoring her path will fail.

I watch many people suffer but I’ve learned my lesson, as much as it hurts. I can’t help them unless they ask for help and all signs indicate a positive situation. It is more important now that I prepare to pass on this information to the young people and get them started in how to use the
Old Ways
to help others. I have enough energy to do that. I have very little time or interest in relating this information to older people. The effort has already indicated that it is a process of diminishing returns. Most of my own generation feels that it is acceptable to take and not give back and there is nothing I can do for them. There are a few exceptions and they are a joy to have around. Of the rest, the sooner they are dead and gone the easier my life will be. That is a sad thought but they have chosen to make that their reality. It hurts. I tried to wish it into being some other way but that is adverse to the universe and the law of free will. So be it.

Oliver Loveday © April 22, 2012 4pm EDT

The creek downstream from Buffalo Springs, Grainger County, Tennessee.

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