Honor Song

At the Natick Praying Indians Annual Harvest Moon Powwow, there was a special honor song in memory of another mother, her son, and my mother. Knowing there were only five of us completing the first path around the sacred circle reminded me that the journey of mom’s passing had often felt lonely. The strong presence of Janet Robinson and her amazing heart beside me, made it possible to find a rhythm based on communion rather than isolation. On the second round, the gathering energy of strong clear voices, the presence of children, and others who joined the procession freed my feet further to receive each beat of the drum.

As I moved around the circumference, I thought back to the day nearly four years ago when I had first come to this Powwow seeking a blessing I could not name. At five months into the journey with mom I had seriously doubted my ability to go the distance. The odds on the possibility of us healing a return to the original blessing that surrounded the circumstances of my birth, seemed slim.

On that long ago day, as Harry began to smudge me, tears had poured down my face. By the time the feather that signifies completion touched my shoulder, something had shifted. Already more certain, when Naticksqw’ – Chief Caring Hands, offered her welcome and blessing that day, I had closed my eyes. Her powerful words resonated in my chest, encouraging me to embrace a sureness about entering a covenant to assist in a ‘good death’ for mom. Returning home that day something felt noticeably different. I still didn’t have a single clue about how to accomplish my mission, yet I had faith that somehow I would.

In each pass around the circle I reconsidered the memories of everyday spent with mom. Some of the no longer useful more painful images, flowed out through my feet and deep into the earth. All that was possible has come to pass. I felt stronger and more certain about what may be useful going forward. I remembered the mission has been completed and the promise fulfilled. On the final verse, I thought of all the people I know who are in the last days now with their own mothers and offered prayers for them. Never have my feet felt more sure.

As the song and the drum still hung in the air, I felt flooded with honor and simply blessed. Each person came and offered something from their heart. Then it was Harry’s turn. Knowing the part he had played in the story, when the depth of compassion in his eyes met mine, and his arms offered comfort, a single sob broke loose and rang out into the sky.

I will long remember and treasure the sensation of my feet placed upon the earth with each heartbeat made of honor, and the amazing people who have borne witness to this journey.

And then there was great celebration and joy.

Another Harvest Moon Powwow with the Natick Praying Indians passes from this life to the next. To Cathy Kerr, Janet Robinson, the family of Chief Caring Hands, and all my beloveds who may soon this way of parental grief come; May their time be comforted by your touch, conversations made compassionate by your openness, hearts filled with your love, and suffering eased through your willingness to accept life’s great mystery. Chi Miigwetch.

She Who Brings the Dawn.


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21 Responses to Honor Song

  1. lapetinaa says:

    What a journey you have been on, my friend. Simply and utterly honorable and beautiful.

  2. Sylvie says:

    sounds so very healing…sending good thoughts your way 🙂

  3. Robert Vanderwaall says:

    A beautiful ceremony to be remembered and treasured Beth. The power of the drum and of feet on the earth. Beautiful to have been performed by local Native Americans. Very, very special event and wonderfully written. Robert v.

  4. erin says:

    It seems as though every step you take is one forward, despite the times when it may feel as though it’s the opposite. I loved sharing this morning with you, and then coming to read about your experiences this past weekend… makes me feel ever more certain you’re path is leading to a beautiful new place.

    • Thanks Erin. You know for awhile it felt like two steps forward one back. now it is more like two forward pause, reflect, stand very still, then two forward again, sounds like you are correct about progress. thanks to you and Hailey for helping me beautify the place this morning. I am surrounded by beauty and it sure feels good. much love. z

  5. Dear Beth,
    I know that you’ve been through a long and ardous journey this past year. Although this portion of your journey has ended, I am so happy that you’ve been accepting the blessings that have been offered by Naticksqw” Chief Caring Hands and The Praying Indians. Over the past year and more I have had the opportunity to understand much about our “Natick heritage”. I feel that I have been very blessed to meet with members and look forward to many more in the future. I was at the first “public” ceremony at The Eliot Church in So. Natick. As The Praying Indians are now home, after 338 years, it feels like a circle is becoming complete.

    God Bless You, Beth. And, as I missed seeing you at the first ceremony in August, I will be looking forward to seeing you in the future. I’d love to speak with you when you have the time.. You’ve been a follower for many more years than I and the opportunity to learn from your journey would be wonderful. Your pictures of the powwow are absolutely wonderful. Again, I was unable to attend as family situations didn’t allow for being there. I can picture how powerful it was for you “with the calling of the drum”
    Best wishes, Di

    • Hi Diane, I was at the church with my mother in July (wrote a post about it), and with my friend Shawna in August, and alone in September. Will go in October as well. We must have been there at the same time! How funny is that? Why don’t you give me a call so we can talk? The Powwow was awesome. I will send you a message on Facebook.

      Thanks for all your support over the past few months. blessings and peace to you.

      • Hi, I’ll look for your message on FB. I think that the return of “The Praying Indians” is a very good thing. Can’t wait to talk and learn more and more. If the Chief were to tell you, she’d say that “Di is the most ignorant enthusiastic person she ever expected to know”. Right then and there, we became “sisters”. I’ll be in touch. Right now, I have less than a day to find a car to purchase, nothing spiritual about that, I’m just praying that something spiritual will come to me as I try and negotiate with “those that sell autos”. I’d ask, if possible, for the Chief to come along with, but, this I have to do alone.

        We’ll talk soon. God Bless The Praying Indians, and you and all who are happy that they’ve held onto faith for centuries. The least I can do is hold onto my faith that someone is not going to take me in my search for transportation. I’m excited that I’m not the only one who’s a lover of the spirit that our own are bringing home. Love, Di

      • It is great to have company on the journey. look forward to seeing you. love, Beth

  6. EllaDee says:

    Thank you for once again sharing the steps in your journey. Your words beautifully convey the energy and emotion of the ceremony and your feelings. I’m happy to see you part of of such a wonderful community sharing the support and guidance 🙂

  7. What a wonderful and fine experience for you Beth. I am so glad for you as I can feel the elation and pleasure at this spiritual ceremony through your beautiful post. Blessings and hugs to you my dear friend. 🙂

  8. ijwoods says:

    Beth, I love your openess to connect to your mother’s – and Molly’s! – passing in so many amazing ways. I’ve been finding it’s not the specific ritual, but doing the thing that allows the emotional tie to surface. It’s in the emotion that the ones we love continue to live.

    • I would absolutely agree. What a great concept “the thing that allows the emotional tie to surface.” I did not have the words to name it, but stacking the wood, continuing the process of sorting through stuff in the house, and re-purposing useful items that were ‘hers’ but with my own updated twist have certainly all contained the same sacred feeling as the honor song at the Powwow. Thanks for giving me language to describe the process. YOU ARE BRILLIANT!!!!!

  9. Beth, just a quick note to let you know I’m thinking of you and your mom, as well as your family. I look so much to be sitting with you and sharing experiences. Take care and remember, none of us is in this world alone; we just have to find who we belong to. Best to you. Di

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