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THE VISION

This is an account of a spirit journey that I took, along woth my significant other, Pale Raven, on February 13th 1999. It is fron his point of view.

When we started the ritual we had no specific goal for the journey, but rather just allowed The Great Spirit to set the scene.

We began our journey in a small clearing in a forest. All around us were very large, very tall trees. I thought they were Redwoods but I'm not sure. A few feet ahead of us was a long straight row of  trees that formed a natural corridor. We walked towards the corridor and when we reached it I noticed that there was almost total darkness inside. Stepping in I could feel the soft carpet of fallen leaves under my feet and smell the familiar aroma of the forest. Although it was almost impossible to see where we were going, I felt completely safe. I felt as if I had returned to the womb.

After walking a couple of hundred yards, I noticed a figure standing just ahead of us. The figure appeared as a cowled man similar to a Druid, but almost immediately changed form into a Native American warrior. The form of the figure changed back and forth another couple of times and finally fixed on the form of what I thought to be a Pawnee. He was naked except for a plain buckskin breechcloth. His hair was shaved into a Mohawk with quills and feathers on the top of his head and his whole body was painted blue.  He carried a ceremonial spear decorated with several eagle feathers. He looked over his shoulder at us once and walked ahead. We followed.

After a very short time we turned a corner and emerged from the forest onto a high outcrop of rock. We must have been two or three hundred feet above the valley. The warrior stopped at the edge of the outcrop and pointed into the valley. I looked over the edge and saw a large camp of several dozen teepees. In the center of the camp was a lodge much larger than the rest, it was painted a turquoise blue with an orange sunset along the bottom. Two of the supporting poles were decorated with eagle feathers from ground to apex, there must have been well over 100 feathers. I turned to Running Wolf and said, "He wants us to go down, but how will we get to the bottom?"
"Just step off the edge and float down," was her reply.

When we reached the valley floor, I saw an old man standing in the doorway of the large teepee. He was wearing  buckskin pants and a buckskin shirt and on his head he wore an eagle feather headdress that flowed down to his waist at the back. He stood and watched us as we walked towards him. When we got within 20 feet of the teepee he turned and stepped inside. A little nervous, we followed him in.

The interior of the teepee was dark and there was a small fire burning in the middle. Grandfather (as Running Wolf calls him) was sitting on the far side of the fire and beckoned us to sit opposite him. We did what he asked and he produced a pipe and silently raised it above his head. I looked up at the pipe and it appeared to be carved from solid Turquoise. When I looked back at Grandfather he had changed form into an even older man wearing a wolf's head with the pelt falling over his shoulders and down his back. He handed the pipe to me and just gazed into my eyes (soul!). I got the sense that he wanted me to charge it. At that moment, I looked down to my right and saw a white bag on the floor by my leg, it looked like a tobacco offering. Opening the pouch, I filled the pipe with tobacco. I knew I had to do something ceremonial but was not sure what. I raised the pipe to the sky and began to chant.

After chanting for a while I lit the pipe and handed it to the old man. He took a smoke and passed it back to me. I turned to give the pipe to Running Wolf and noticed she was wearing a turquoise blue dress with white trim, I also noticed that she had long black hair braided to the middle of her back (This was the first time during the journey that I had actually paid attention to how she looked. Running Wolf is blonde with blue eyes.). She took the pipe and smoked and then handed it back to me. I smoked and as I looked at the old man, I realized that he had turned into Grandfather again. At this point I was beginning to think that maybe there were two old men (OK, so I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer.).

When I had finished smoking I put the pipe down on the floor just in front of the fire. Grandfather stood and walked to the door beckoning us to follow. As I stood he pointed to the pipe and then to me, indicating that the pipe was mine. I picked it up and followed him outside. Running Wolf was already with him when I emerged. A lot of time had passed, and a beautiful sunset greeted me. Grandfather walked on ahead and I said to Running Wolf, "I think that was Geronimo." I am immediately pulled back into the teepee and am standing face to face with the Wolf man. He smiles at me and nods.

In a blink I am back outside. Grandfather is motioning to the sunset and to the hundreds of teepees in front of us. I got a strong sense of happiness and contentment from the scene. Grandfather seemed as though he wanted to tell me more but was unable to speak English. I turned to Running Wolf and asked her to talk to him as she has the Native American heritage. She moved towards him and he began to speak to her in a language that I could not understand. Once again I felt myself pulled back to the interior of the teepee.

When I arrive, Geronimo is waiting for me. He showed me a vision of thousands of Native American people. they marched past me in an endless parade, each one looking more tortured than the last. Old women and children came by me, some stopping to look up at me with pleading eyes, as if I could end their pain. The vision was in sepia, not color. I looked at Geronimo with tears streaming down my face. He spoke to my soul. I heard his words though he never spoke.

Handing me the pipe he said that I must find it, that as a white man I have been chosen as the keeper of the pain of his people at the hands of my ancestors. The pipe is a symbol of that pain. His voice stopped and he looked at me, not with anger or hatred but with a look of sadness. Yet I had a feeling of hope and pride behind that sadness. I felt as though he had given me a task or purpose. I felt that Grandfather had shown me a part of what I was to bring forth.

I left Geronimo without a word and rejoined Running Wolf and Grandfather. They have stopped talking and appear to be waiting for my return. I smiled at Grandfather and told Running Wolf that I was ready to leave. At the top of the outcrop we found the warrior patiently waiting to guide us back.

Running Wolf believes that Grandfather is Chief Joseph and since the vision I have found photographs of him and I agree. As I write this she is still trying to understand what was said to her while I was with Geronimo.

This is the second time I have encountered Geronimo in vision. The first time was last spring when I had become more aware of my destiny as a warrior for the old ways. I had a vision of the ancestors of this land smiling down on me and Geronimo rode by on a painted pony waving a ceremonial spear in salute.

I am not aware of what this means and pray that The Great Spirit will lead me to a greater understanding.