The Shortest Day/The Longest Day – June 2022

From Shaman’s Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood

 

December 21

O sun, the father of us all, maker of ripe flowers, creator

of fat corn, return this day to our part of the shrinking sky.

Your journey to the south is now complete and we pray to you

to remember the drear, dark days of winter caught between

Your strong fingers struggling to release the earth from sleep. In this

long gasp of icy silence, all creatures find renewal, a pale hope

That spring will not forget to come this year, nor will birds forget to lay eggs

heavy with the yolk of generation.

 

June 21

Now the earth lies panting in the rich blood of summer, and you are content,

O sun, father of full orchards and the restlessness of elk. We observe

Your deep shadows and hear the laughter of leaves green with continuity,

but we are not deceived by the smoothness of our ripe landscape.

Even the longest day contains the seeds of winter and on the wind we hear

the song that icicles sing to stay awake. The longest day is merely

A pause between the places where our lives are lived, and in its fullness

we dance for the right of bumblebees to gather distant honey.

Feather – May 2022

From Shaman’s Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood

 

The bluebird and I were friends, the kind that depend on one another

to reaffirm life’s patterns and to embrace the cleansing wind.

He awakened me with a song each morning and in his voice I recognized

his wider experience of rising above difficulty to reach

The purity of clouds and wind and sun. In my garden I offered him

water and seed and acceptance, never knowing if he understood

My simple gifts were meant to praise him. Then one day upon the ground

I noticed a single bluebird feather. What deeper gift can a bird

Give than what enables him to fly? Or to sing the song of his creation

to me, forever rooted to the ground?

The Path – January 2020

From Shaman’s Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood

 

Whatever you become, my child, may it be rooted in grace.

Whatever your path through life,

may it offer you steepness and rough places, so that you do not become

complacent. Nothing is owed to you, but everything is available to you,

 

Even the decision to do nothing and to travel nowhere.

It’s up to you to decide

whether to follow the wisdom of our ancestors, or to pursue

the cheap solutions of the world. Your courage will arise

 

If you call it by name, just as love will find its way into your heart, in time.

My child, I cannot shoulder your mistakes

in order to keep you free from pain,

but I can open your eyes to beauty, if you will only take the time.

Joined – December 2019

From Shaman’s Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood

 

Our connection to nature is nothing more

than a deep conversation,

like that between two related stones or trees,

an expanding bond of kinship

that sharpens perceptions and catches

sunlight devouring ice on streams,

a refrain of winter’s resistance

To the unconditional surrender of spring.

 

Who knows the meaning behind a conversation

between two partners of the soul,

so perfectly joined that they seem as natural

as veins on leaves? Our connection

to nature is a magical cord that offers solace,

granting us witness to the birth of stars.

Birth Ritual – March 2019

From Shaman’s Circle, 1996, by Nancy Wood

 

New being, new citizen of the world, new carrier

of cloud wisdom and moonstones, new

flame of the universe, new eyes of animals

too old to see beyond their footprints, new repetition

Of the old ideas that people thought had died long ago,

we stand before you, ready to protect your small

breath of life, ready to teach you songs, ready to

help you plow the fields cluttered with our mistakes. Your

Recent journey affirms our faith in ancient circles. You are

the voice of us who tried to change the world. You are

the continuity of seasons and migrations, the best

or worst of all that has gone before. New being,

The ancestors are depending on you to surprise them. Little one,

our prayers for you come with love and heartbreak.

The world you enter is dangerous and filled with

imbalance. Knowledge comes from experience, not from

Easy answers. Resist those who would have you blindly follow them,

dear child of buffalo and hawks, ladybugs and fireflies. Turn instead

to the rhythm of waves, the pattern of grass, the shape of clouds,

the music of raindrops, and the color of autumn leaves. Strong

Mountains and saplings await you. The tongues of animals are anxious

to speak to you and the river is eager to teach you to dance. Learn

from the vagaries of winds, the honking of geese, the dance

of trembling leaves, and the way that shadows mystify.

New being, this is all you will need to be at home in the world.

New being, this is all you will need to recognize your song.