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Black Elk - Native American Indians - Butterflies



Type of Spiritual Experience


The following is part of a long visionary experience Black Elk described as his ‘dog vision’ primarily induced by drumming and dancing …..

A description of the experience

I cried very hard, and I thought it might be better if my crying would kill me; then I could be in the outer world where nothing is in despair.  And while I was crying, something was coming from the south.  It looked like dust far off, but when it came closer, I saw it was a cloud of beautiful butterflies of all colours.  They swarmed around me so thick that I could see nothing else.

I walked backwards to the flowering stick again and the spotted eagle on the pine tree spoke and said “Behold these.  They are your people.  They are in great difficulty and you shall help them”.  Then I could hear all the butterflies that were swarming over me, and they were making a pitiful whimpering noise as though they too were weeping

The source of the experience

Native American Indians

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Frenetic exercise


Listening to beating sounds



Black Elk Speaks – as told through John Neihardt