Sunday, August 24, 2008


In my life, I've been to a few churches, seen a number of traditional ceremonies, and been mostly unmoved by them all. I've never enjoyed the comfort of rituals nor have I found beauty in formal pageantry. Perhaps this is from a life bereft of religion, customs and heritage, being an atheist mutt.

Yet, there is one solitary tradition, completely alien to me, that I find so moving, so beautiful, and so deeply inspiring that it bears my sincerest, heart-felt awe, as no other has ever elicited from me. Just to be allowed to be a witness to these events is a highlight of my life, and as long as they'll let me in, I will always seek to go. This is as close as I get to having a religious experience. I just cannot say how absolutely beautiful the whole thing is to me.

Here are the photos I took at the Potawatomi Trails PowWow, held in Shiloh Park, in Zion, Illinois today.

Part of what appeals is the ancient traditions, the connection to nature, the gorgeous languages, and the fascinating people. At the end of the Grand Entry, an elder read aloud a prayer for good things to happen today, and as I listened to this foreign language, a swallowtail butterfly lazily floated right in front of my face. I turned to Ann and smiled, and she smiled back, as if this butterfly gave us both some peace and joy. Somehow, the sun felt better, the air felt cleaner, and my head felt clearer. I don't understand many of the meanings behind what we saw there, but it just felt good.

Sometimes, feeling good is enough.


Rachel said...

I'm fully in the belief that the native Americans knew/know how to live correctly with the earth. They live in harmony With the earth, not living on the earth...
Meh, this is a consumer's world now

Jen said...

The university I went to for 1st and 2nd year always hosted a pow wow on campus. I still remember the grand entry, and the jingle dancers.

Travelin' Tracy said...

Of course I am especially religious, but I agree with you...native american rituals are so fascinating and I would love to watch at one, anything.