Fire Rings and the Native Amercan People
In the start of time upon this world there existed no fire. Cold penetrated to the bones of the animal people.
And the animal people were often cold on many days. Only the Thunders, who lived in the world beyond the sky arch, had fire. At last they sent Lightning down to an island.
Lightning put fire into the bottom of a great known hollow sycamore tree.
The animal people knew that the fire was there, because they could see smoke rising from the top of the tree. But they could not get to it on account of the water. So they held a grand council to decide what to do.
All those that could fly or could swim were very eager to go after the fire. Raven said, "Let me go. I am large and strong."
At that time Raven was white. He flew high and far across the water and reached the top of the sycamore tree. While he sat there wondering what to do, the heat scorched all his feathers black. The frightened Raven flew home without the fire, and his feathers have been black ever since. Then the council sent Screech Owl. He flew to the island. But while he was looking down into the hollow tree, a blast of hot air came up and nearly burned out his eyes. He flew home and to this day, Screech Owl's eyes are red.
Then Hooting Owl and Homed Owl were sent to the island together. But the smoke nearly blinded them, and the ashes carried up by the wind made white rings about their eyes. They had to come home, and were never able to get rid of the white rings.
Then Little Snake swam across to the island, crawled through the grass to the tree, and entered it through a small hole at the bottom. But the smoke and the heat were too much for him, too. He escaped alive, but his body had been scorched black. And it was so twisted that he doubled on his track as if always trying to escape from a small space.
Big Snake, the climber, offered to go for fire, but he fell into the burning stump and became as black as Little Snake. He has been the great blacksnake ever since.
At last Water Spider said that she would go. Water Spider has black downy hair and red stripes on her body. She could ran on top of water and she could dive to the bottom. She would have no trouble in getting to the island.
"But you are so little, how will you carry enough fire?" the council asked.
"I'll manage all right," answered Water Spider. "I can spin a web." so she spun a thread from her body and wove it into a little bowl and fastened the little bowl on her back. Then she crossed over to the island and through the grass. She put one little coal of fire into her bowl and brought it across to the people.
Every since, we have had fire. And the Water Spider still has her little bowl on her back. And make the fires anew in the honor with 7 woods of the Creator. Fire Rings are ceremonial to send sweet essence to Creator from the things of Mother Earth.
It is a gathering of rising of smoke and the sending of thoughts and prayers to the Great Spirit (oitchi manido ) The fire base is started: As the ceremony begins: A medicine man or woman adds 7 woods unto the fire and special gifts of the Earth like tobacco, sweet grass, acorns, pinecones, sage and flower pedals, and even seeds. First the offering is held to each of the Winds of the Earth and then placed into the fire. The Fire Ring is now blessed and the people can send their personal gifts to ( Mide manido ) Grand Medicine spirit through the fire, and even the evils of the world they no longer desire to bare as they walk. Healings and the gathering and sharing of the miracle of the smoke also are shared: The Fire Ring is a cleansing to the family and that is why family groups hold them also on a regular basis and are started by the families elder who add the 7 woods, and the special gifts to the Great Medicine Spirit. Greater Fire Rings held by Medicine Men are for all who desire to participate. It is a Ceremony! Many are also personally invited by the Medicine Man who asks of each one a special secret gift for the Fire Ring from each one invited that they must bring from Mother Earth to honor all their forefathers, and to make the Fire Ring personal upon their family so their thoughts and prayers arise in the smoke. Sadly, many have forgotten the tradition and Spiritual meaning and need of gwav-ah-ko mi-kA-nA>h and the Fire Ring for their self and their families. But, this also is now changing as Traditions return upon the People. As the Miracles are renewed and eyes open and ears once more hear the feet of the deer among the dried leaves. It is changing as One Blood once more holds the truth near.
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