No Name (Surprise )
You are the grandmother who was blind.
But now you can see!
Grandmother (Bowing low)
Yes, I am.
I can see
My name is Keeper Of The Medicines Of The Moon
No Name (bowing low)
Here are the Arrows that were given to me
Keeper of Medicines of the Moon (smiling)
I will bind these Arrows
within the song of changing
that is your medicine
Lonely Person cannot know that she will marry Heyoehkah
Grandmother Deaf Woman gives Lonely Person moccasins for her dance,
beautiful as sacred lodge can offer
but they aren’t enough.
She hides them
She is ashamed
because they are…
… not new.
At that place
Turtle has been turned upon its back
The signs of the painters are washed with the rains
Rains touch the earth
Run under the back of that ancient shell.
Cool upon the belly of the turtle
Her dread of the sun grows with each passing cloud
Would she be left alone upon her back
to the summer heat?
(She cries out silently to Lonely Person.)
Lonely Person hears a reflection deep within her heart
that speaks to her of the ancient turtle
and her painting
But she is so sad…
she does not understand…
the Cry of the Turtle.
This is what Lonely Person does as she sits at the stream of clouds:
I weep in my heart…
I am not beautiful
I cannot give fully of myself
of the things that sing in my being.
I long to become myself
I long to dance within the circle of fire
that reflects ten thousand eyes of the stars
into the camp circle.
She translates the Turtle’s Cry into a bitter painting of sorrow.
Heyoehkah is driven from the camp
Because he is mad
Heyoehkah is alone upon the prairie
He hears Lonely Person’s thoughts
He runs toward the mountains
Feelings of spring in heart.
He hears the singing of the earth.
Medicine Leaf falls quietly to the ground
from the tree struck with lightning and fire.
Medicine Leaf is painted upon the face of the mountain by Sweet Medicine.
Turtle has stolen Medicine Leaf from the mountain,
Thinking it was the power of Lonely Person.
Is the song in Heyoehkah’s heart
is in his mind
Heyoehkah comes to the mountain
he sees Lonely Person
He cannot approach her
he was driven from the circle.
He makes medicine,
the mountains hear his talk
They make seven rainbows,
they listen to Heyoehkah’s song.
I walk upon foolish words.
I run around many waters.
I am you within wonder.
Hear what we do not say.
Open the lodge door.
No poorer than stone,
More rich than weeping,
I am Crazy Dog
Six grandmothers are awakened
by the laughter of little boy
the laughter of Seven Arrows
They see far
Far beyond Heyoehkah’s prayers.
They begin to sing
To the center of the earth where Lonely Person dreams
Stars dance with fireflies upon the earth,
For night’s meeting with Dreamer.
The grandmothers speak to the fireflies, saying:
Where are the shadows?
Where is the transformation?
Where does everyone walk?
Can they touch fantasies?
Does night remember?
Dreamer hears these things
She thinks she will trick Heyoehkah
She will enter the young man’s body
So that she can marry Lonely Person
Walk with me.
Open your eyes!
Heyoehkoh falls asleep,
Dreamer sees the Night.
It is Lonely Person Changed.
Lonely Person dances
turning turtle over.
Red Leaf lights up the night …
Like a bright fire he sings!
Heyoehkah awakens to dance
with the young woman named South Horse
Keeper Of The Medicines Of The Moon concludes
She is the Camp.
She is the People.
Heyoehkah is everyone who hears this song.
A crazy dog’s song!
Estchimah steps from the circle of the city to the prairie
She is sudden stopped by very old woman.
Old Woman (begging)
Please, my child
will you help an old mother?”
What is it, grandmother?
My little donkey is old and becoming blind
Will you lead her for me?
I am going to the mountains
The journey will be much more enjoyable with a companion.
Estchimah walks along the dusty path for hours, stopping only now and again to rest, drink, or eat
Old woman never moves from her perch on the donkey.
She never drinks, eats, or rests.
She never speaks a word.
Estchimah tries many times to converse with her, but for all her efforts she might have been addressing stone.
Estchimah (asking again for hundredth time)
Don’t you ever speak?
hoping she would say something
The old woman’s silence is making her uneasy.
They are crossing a small stream, and Estchimah is mumbling about the mud
Suddenly with a very loud and booming voice, the old woman speaks
Old Woman (thunders)
Hail Burning Of Waters!
She pauses briefly and then begins chanting in a loud voice:
Smoke from the Camp Fires twist together
Flow along ground like dragon.
Air hisses as the wet wood burns,
Morning Sun turns blood red.
Hard gray silhouettes of people
speak together sleepily
about dangerous dreams,
cursing the mud.
The ribs of their slate-colored tent stands out crookedly
arrows driven into the ground.
The taut skin of their tent was shaped
As Dog, lain down to starve to death.
The priests and the priestesses are awake.
Plans for the ceremony have been ruined by the rains
Each visitor sits sullenly, each gray figure wonders what to do.
One by one each stands up, stretches
begins to walk away in boredom.
All go their own way.
Soon the Camp is deserted
Not even chief priest and priestess remain.
Morning breathes quietly,
changes its face into most wondrous day
shines brightly as music.
The abandoned tent falls down in a soft bundle to rest.
wood on the seven drenched campfires
magically dries and flares into life,
becoming bright…seven signs.
Each priest and priestess wanders to the same lake,
but because of the great size of that powerful place,
all think themselves alone.
They see their own fear and are surprised.
Then everyone sees their new reflection and begins to dream.
so fearsome and powerful it dwarfs even itself,
seems to rise out of the reflection
Determined to Destroy
But just as smoothly as it appears
it turns into a delicate flower.
The priests and priestesses return to their camp.
Now their fires are burning
their lodge tent is made beautiful.
a great wheel with mirrors to remember the dream.
After the old woman speaks she becomes silent again.
She does not talk, nor does she answer Estchimah’s inquiries about her sudden story at the stream.
Estchimah decides to watch her more closely. They plod on, Estchimah walking and the old woman riding the little donkey.
It is almost noon, and getting hot. Estchimah stops for a drink from her waterskin when she notices a powerful young eagle that just landed in the tree over her head.
She is about to point out the eagle to the old woman, but she hears her speak again.
This time her voice is like the pure sound of water.
Old Woman (sings)
Hail Painted With Color Having Eyes
It is now as it was when you held the river reeds in your hands.
The fragrance of what you hold within your hands speaks to you of the very essence of growing.
As you hold the bundle you wonder,
You try to understand what you gather at the river.
You see the grass and the trees
You enjoy the flowers.
You blink, you try to remember this place
Quickly you put aside your remembering
and forget as you turn to begin your walk back
to the circle of lodges.
You sit down by your lodge fire.
The quiet joy of a mysterious Song is part of you<
Uneasiness buzzes around your head like an angry bee.
You don’t want the dream to leave you.
You don’t want to be angry.
You feel your eyes opening wider in anger,
Suddenly you begin to hate.
You want to kill your enemy, the bee,
Before you can do so it flies away.
Now you feel defeated, even embarrassed.
You look to see if anyone has seen the Transformation of your mind.
Transformation? Is that what you thought?
It must be because it is so early in the morning.
You rub your eyes as you begin the task of stripping the willow reeds.
What was it you were going to make?
it was a carrying basket your mother asked you to build for her work.
The world seems to turn under your hands
as you fit the willow reeds together into the first circle.
You realize suddenly that this would be a good drum
if you could find that fragment of hide that was cut and put away.
You begin to look within your lodge and discover that it is still there, where you carelessly threw it away
among the rest of your childhood things.
Much of the mystery disappears when you touch the tiny child’s shield.
The shield was the drum, and it was the willow basket,
and it was the river and the bundle.
And now you remember
…or have you forgotten?
Estchimah (totally bewildered)
Are these your prayers?
The old woman says nothing.
While they walk, Estchimah again watches for any sign that might cause another song from the old woman.
She doesn’t see anything, but suddenly the old woman speaks again.
This time her voice sounds like all the winds of the earth together.
Estchimah spins on her heel to see who the old woman is greeting. She sees that it is an old and very beautiful tree.)
Old Woman (crying out)
Hail, Boundary of Blood!
An adventure upon the paths within changing walls,
where the temple builder lives.
A dark river where the eye blinks with every stroke of his ruby hammer,
carving the dress of Sweet Medicine,
carving the dress away
until she stands naked,
the sun upon her face,
within that dark place where the eye blinks.
It is frightening when it is within a dream
because you are prisoner of the mind;
without form you drift onto the anvil beneath the hammer.
There, you watch the geometry explode
or carve the dress of Sweet Medicine,
carving it away until there is nakedness.
The paths and walls shimmer like the aurora,
Illuminate the dark river.
There is unspeakable terror
the river is the Power of the Universe.
Lightning runs in patterns from the ruby hammer
along the arm of the temple builder
Glows like burnished suns in his eyes.
His eyes are like the eyes of a cat,
only four hundred million times as large.
They become diamonds
for the necklace Sweet Medicine will wear when she stands naked.
The image of Sweet Medicine reflects upon the turning path.
Your heart weeps and laughs
You touch Sweet Medicine’s belt,
Jolting your soul into mystery.
Your tears flow like the joy of fresh mountain streams
Because you are afraid, you struggle.
You want to love her
and do not want the spell broken.
That is why you struggle.
That is why.
Estchimah walks along, again determined not to miss anything. She watches every flower, tree, bird; anything that might be the next sign, but her guess is wrong every time.
Suddenly the song begins again. Estchimah turns quickly, but the evening sun blinds her and she is unable to see the old woman.
Old Woman (calls)
Hail, Lodge of the Suns
in a strong voice…
Following behind the old woman,
waiting for the water to leave the ground,
the apprentice sees the old woman mix ashes from the sacrifices for holy offering.
In the great desert where the old woman lives,
is the valley of sand.
An ancient spinning wheel
is set up beside a new loom constructed of animals bones.
The task begins.
The offerings are spun together
Then are woven upon the loom.
Suddenly the hair of the apprentice
is caught in the loom of the old woman’s work.
A tiny sound of thunderbird is heard.
It is the quiet sobbing of the apprentice.
The old woman appears as an evil witch,
bending over her work,
laughing as she spins and weaves.
The little girl tries frantically to free her hair from the loom
but finds she is erecting braids in the weave.
Flecks of blood appear along the strands, tracing rivers of design.
She cries more loudly and claws at the old woman,
asking the ancient mother to listen.
The spinning stops.
The shuttle ends its movement.
The sun becomes the moon crossed between the horns of Sweet Medicine.
Sweet Medicine listens to the nakedness of the apprentice
and transforms the weaving into a robe of flowers
for the girl-woman to wear.
In the valley of sand within the great desert
the garden is growing
and the earth is renewed.
There is rejoicing.
The Vision Quest has begun