Our project had a very organic feel to it. Not only were we able to let our thoughts flow naturally, but we were also guided by the power of the book. Our intention was to create a physical manifestation through the poetic word that culminated and expanded our IRT experience. We set our intention on the first page that the book be like the hollow bone so that the great collective spirit could fill it with wisdom, and that through us, the truth could speak. We saluted the four directions for a more holisitc approach to a poetic anthology. We also included the Wopila prayer to The Grandfather Spirit giving thanks to the creator for giving us this opportunity to creatively share our channels of inspiration. The idea of ceremony grew simultaneously along with the book. We wanted to have an altar that was in the center of the circle and included artifacts both from the Lakota tradition and our own spiritual pasts.
We found that despite our different visions, our message was reconciled through music and poetry in a synergistic way. Through rewriting poetry in handwritten form, we were able to meditate on the sound as well as the meaning for a prolonged period of time. This helped us connect to the essence of the poems. We passed the book around in sun direction and contributed words and poems from our own hearts, from other classmates, from Native American poets, and from Civil Rights leaders.
In the beginning, God Created the word; from this Judeo-Christian cosmogony, poetry and storytelling became the fundamental medium for transmitting cultural messages and cultural traditions. For our class and our final project, with emphasizing the ceremonial aspect of our reading, we presented our words mixed in with wise words from Native American poets. Essential, fundamental, and organic, through our ceremony, wonderful coincidences occurred. Somehow, the sage smudge refused to go out, and the smoke transported us to the Ashbury Haight street scene in 60s San Fancisco (thanks Bruce!). The ambiance of room which seemed rather sacred was further created by our group’s preparation the day before. The camaraderie we formed and reflection we engaged in while putting together our book translated to our performance. Reading the poetry and putting the book together was a sacred ceremony in itself, in fact we saged ourselves before we started creating the book. The great energy created through our thoughtful presentation could only have been achieved after the energy we put into creating it.
During the presentation / ceremony, we began by setting the class up in a circle. The alter was in the middle, and we smudged everyone before the ceremony began. Afterwards, we passed the book in sun direction so that all four of us had four chances to share words. The words and songs that came were slightly planned, but also fairly spontaneous. We intentionally left room for this spontaneous aspect. What ended up being shared was a blend of our own original poetry, lyrics, as well as the poetry and quotes of Native American poets and scholars. We closed the ceremony with the Hare Krishna mantra and invited the entire class to sing along.