"We Give Thanks..."BY CHIEF JAKE SWAMP
An understanding of the integral assistance of the Universe anchors us and our place in this world. Remove even one strand from this intricate tapestry, and the entire garment falls apart. It was, therefore, appropriate that the first Mythic Journeys conference began with a simple act of thanksgiving.
Chief Jake Swamp is a respected spiritual leader of the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation, and the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. He is also the author of Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message. Chief Swamp walked to the center of the gathering, clasped his hands together, looked to the Heavens and spoke, first in his native language ("...which gives me strength.") He then translated his blessing into English for our benefit:
"We are brought together on this beautiful day. We now bring our minds together as if we became one person as we give thanks to our health and well-being. We look around the world and we see the many different gifts that have been given by the Great Spirit.
"We give thanks to the Earth, our Mother, and greet her this morning, for always taking care of us.
"We give thanks to all the bodies of water, the water that is responsible for quenching our thirst.
"When we see all the grasses and the beauty of the greenery they present to us, we thank them for what they do in this life. We give thanks to all the medicinal herbs that have been planted that take away diseases and sicknesses.
"We give thanks to all the foods that come from the ground.
"We give thanks to all the fish that live in the waters, and all the insects.
"We give thanks to all the animal relatives, especially the Deer, their leader. We give thanks to them for cleaning up the forest and keeping it clean.
"We give thanks to all the trees around the world, for each and every day we use their energy. We must always honor and remember how helpful they are to our lives.
"We pay attention to the birds who sing their beautiful songs, including their leader, the Eagle. Each time when we are taken into loneliness, we only need to listen to their beautiful songs, and we are comforted in our minds and be well again.
"We take our minds to the Four Directions where the Four Winds come from, and we give thanks for the air that we breathe.
"We give thanks to our oldest Grandfathers who come from the West, the Thunder Beings. As they rumble across the sky, we know that the waters of the world will be replenished.
"We give thanks to our oldest Brother, the Sun, for he is the one who shines his light that we may see creation clearly, giving his warmth so that everything can grow.
"We thank our oldest Grandmother, the Moon, as she continues to hold hands with the Earth and all the females of the world who are responsible for bringing forth new life. She is in charge of the movements of all the waters of the world, including the waters within us.
"We give thanks to her helpers, all the Stars, who bring the dew to help the plant life when we have dry seasons. Although we have lost much knowledge of the stars, just to look at their beauty and the brilliance of how they are scattered across the sky brings us comfort enough to say thankyou for what they do.
"We give thanks to the Four Sacred Beings who were assigned to watch over the human family. We depend upon them whenever we are entering into dangerous places. They intervene on our behalf and lead us away from danger.
"And now we have arrived at a special place beyond the heavens where the Great Spirit lives. We say thank you for what was presented to the People in this world, the gift of life; we know where it came from. Although we do not know the face of the Creator, we can feel its presence within every living thing, including within us. And so we give thanks for this great mystery to the Creator of all things that we enjoy every day.
"This morning we have opened our gathering with thankfulness for being brought together. Yawehkowa. Thank you."