Lame Deer - Native American Indians - The Wicasa Wakan
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Lame Deer Seeker of Visions – John Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes
The more I think about it, the more I believe that the only real medicine man is the wicasa wakan – the holy man. Such a one can cure, prophesy, talk to the herbs, command the stones, conduct the sun-dance or even change the weather, but all this is of no great importance to him. These are merely stages he has gone through. The wicasa wakan has gone beyond all this. He has the wakanya wowanyanke – the great vision. Sitting Bull was such a man.
The wicasa wakan wants to be by himself. He wants to be away from the crowd, from everyday matters. He likes to meditate, leaning against a tree or rock, feeling the earth move beneath him, feeling the weight of that big flaming sky upon him. That way he can figure things out.
Closing his eyes, he sees many things clearly. What you see with your eyes shut is what counts.
The wicasa wakan loves the silence, wrapping it around himself like a blanket – a loud silence with a voice like thunder which tells him of many things. Such a man likes to be in a place where there is no sound but the humming of insects. He sits facing the west, asking for help. He talks to the plants and they answer him. He listens to the voices of the wama kaskan – all those who move upon the earth, the animals. He is as one with them. From all living beings something flows into him all the time and something flows from him. I don't know where or what, but it's there. I know.
This kind of medicine man is neither good nor bad. He lives – and that's it, that's enough. White people pray a preacher to be 'good', to behave himself in public, to wear a collar, to keep away from a certain kind of woman. But nobody pays an Indian medicine man to be good, to behave himself and act respectable. The wicasa wakan just acts like himself. He has been given the freedom – the freedom of a tree or a bird. That freedom can be beautiful or ugly; it doesn't matter much.