Some researchers into Navajo religion say that we have no supreme God because he is not named. This is not so. The Supreme Being is not named because he is unknowable. He is simply the Unknown Power. We worship him through his creation for he is everything in his creation. The various forms of creation have some of his spirit within them.
– Huston Smith’s The World’s Religions by way of Joseph Epes Brown Modes of Contemplation Through Action: North American Indians
During the Season of Gratitude I shared a Yoruban prayer that pays homage to all in life: the wind, trees, water, earth, ancestors, current family and friends, and those yet to be born. In tribal traditions or primal religions, it is customary to “worship” all that there is in life rather than a specific deity. I was taught that this was polytheism, that is, a belief in many gods. Today, I have a different take on it. I think it’s the epitome of a belief in one God. One underlying Spirit that is apparent in everything, animate and inanimate.
Throughout the month of February, I’ll be exploring tribal traditions for the Year of Prayer post: the common threads among them, their rituals, and some of their prayers. I have no experience with primal religions so this will be an adventure.
I leave you with this prayer said in the US Senate in 1975 by Frank Fools Crow, Chief and Healer of the Lakhota Nation.
In the presence of this house, Grandfather, Wakan-Tanka,
and from the directions where the sun sets,
and from the direction of cleansing power,
and from the direction of the rising un,
and from the direction of the middle of the day.
Grandmother, the Earth who hears everything,
Grandmother, because you are woman, for this reason you are kind,
I come to you this day.To tell you to love the red men, and watch over them,
and give these young men the understanding
because, Grandmother, from you comes the good things, good things
that are beyond our eyes to see have been blessed in our midst
for this reason I make my supplication known to you again.
Give us a blessing so that our words and actions be one in unity,
and that we be able to listen to each other, in so doing,
we shall with good heart walk hand in hand to face the future.
In the presence of the outside, we are thankful for many blessings.
I make my prayer for all people, the children, the women and the men.
I pray that no harm will come to them,
and that on the great island, there be no war,
that there be no ill feelings among us
From this day on may we walk hand in hand
So be it.
Do you have any experiences with tribal traditions as an observer or a participant?