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28 January, 1996

flaming arrow speaks

reading Black Elk Speaks, I felt spirit power potential. Mariah called and woke me from a nap. She asked me many questions. I gave her answers she respected, so she tested me with a series of unrelated matters. If God and the Devil are brothers, Father Sky and Mother Earth their parents. Apple is green to differentiate himself from his brother red. I would not have given such answers had I not been empowered by commonplace mythology of the book.
and that evening, I took a shower. I made the water very hot, and bathed without lights, that I might know the will of the great spirit. As I stood such, words more than images came to me, I felt a flaming arrow.
Lyrics formed in my mind, "speeding arrow, sharp and narrow," but since I was flaming arrow, I paid them little mind.
that night was to be dancing. Speaking to the partner of Bold Ben, my roommate, she said she was going to dress special, for a great party.
after I was clean and fresh clean, I donned a blue suit that my mother had given me on my last visit. One piece long underwear, fashioned of capilene polyester and spandex, so it clung to me tightly. I felt a sense of purpose in that suit. At first I felt fear that I would be too naked, but then some girls saw me and said I should wear this to the dance, and I knew that I would. flaming
after I was dressed, I took lipstick to mark my face, as Black Elk's bretheren had done before war. I thought of my feeling flaming arrow, it helped guide my hands and face. The lipstick lines alone were not dark enough, so I used ashes from incense to make them dark. More than the vanity grease before, the ashes made me feel in touch with fire and earth elements, and my face looked stronger.
approaching the party, I had no purpose, but I felt very excited by the music and spirit I could feel coming from Tarble. Inside, I did not stop to talk, but moved quickly to where I knew I could dance and be near the music makers.
Mariah-searching-for-spirit said I came like a sharp wind, turning people's heads and making them forget what they were saying. If this was so, it is good, it was not me that did it, but they felt the presence of spirit.
Upstairs, all bodies faced one direction, towards the stage. There was no circle, only square. I faced forward as well, and tried to move my body according to the inspiration I felt from the good funk shared by Doctor Booty. But others were so close, and so many were so still, it was hard to unleash my energy without hurting those around me.
Friends witnessed my garb and I think it made them feel weird. Some smiled. Some could not look.
After the first session of music, I went downstairs to a sitting place. I talked to a lovely woman who was put off by me until I explained my vision to her. I felt strange sitting and talking like that.
People-Not-Yet-My-Friends saw my garb and I think it confused them.
Upstairs again for more music, I came immediately upon two friends, Rosa-who-uplifts and Mark-who-is-forward. I stayed in the back, and danced with them. They were smart to be moving in a place where there was more space, I was able to let loose with spirit. At times we faced each other and encouraged bold behaviour.
The night long, I felt myself full of energy. Those times I lost sight and felt my body, I concentrated on an element, and so during that night I danced like earth, air, water and fire. At times I could feel the eyes of women upon me in heat, and the eyes of men upon me in fear, but I was dancing for them and as I continued to do so, I met no adversity. My face painted such, and mojo awoken, I considered lust or combat. What moved me most was looking over the top of the crowds and seeing the Stocky-Man-Who-Looks-a-Farmer inspired to leap towards the sky, the side stages filled with writhing Students-Who-Dwell-Overlong-in-the-Library; manifold manifestations of spirit. I felt much joy and danced very hard at these times.

the next day, I finished the book that had been my inspiration. I knew before, and I know now, that I want to be a spirit leader of people. These are oppressed most by their own hearts, which are heavy with doubt and their minds with worry, these intangible enemies are difficult to fight.

I sit and I write this, and I turn to my first memory after I had my flash of spirit -

Speeding arrow, sharp and narrow,
What a lot of fleeting matters you have spurned.
Several seasons with their treasons,
Wrap the babe in scarlet colors, call it your own.
Did he doubt or did he try? Answers aplenty in the bye and bye,
Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills,
One man gathers what another man spills.
(lyrics from Saint Stephen by Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter)
so I saw that I sped to vision. The spirit moved through me, at times within me. The night was good, the performers put out, people were inspired to action.
it was not the full filament of the power I feel undulating through me at times. It was like a practice, growing comfortable in the role. I think I should not become so comfortable in any role, but another time I should lose myself altogether.
After finishing Black Elk Speaks, seeing him a sagittarius, I don't know if he doubted or tried, but I will gather what he has spilled.
reading his final sense of failure, disillusionment, strikes me uneasy. I saw him hold back from fear of full filament of his vision. I have not yet had mine. I wondered tonight over a future vision quest.

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