Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Journey of Scar Face

I got the following from my book Original Thinking by Glenn Aparicio Parry I thought it was really cool and I know the insights are supposed to be profound. But what they are, you have to figure out for yourself.

Scar Face lived with his grandmother because his mother and father had died shortly after his birth. His face had a birthmark that set him apart from all others and became the source of ridicule and shame. Because he was different, he was taunted by the children and other members in the tribe. As Scar Face grew older he withdrew and spent much of his time alone in the forest befriending and learning the ways of the animals he encountered. It is said that he learned to speak with them. And through them he learned how to be related with all things.

As Scar Face grew older he fell in love, as young boys do, when they come of that age. The focus of Scar Face's affection was a young woman, Singing Rain, the chief's daughter. Singing Rain was also a special person, kind and with a gift of insight. Although all the other young men competed for her affection, it was Scar Face who she came to respect and love because of his honesty and good heart. However, when Scar Face asked for her to marry, she revealed her sacred vow to the Sun never to marry. This was her pledge of spiritual piety in the way of the Blackfoot. The only way she could marry was if the Sun were to release her from her pledge. And so, it is said that Scar Face began his visionary journey to the land of the Star People.

Scar Face did not know where the Star People lived, only that they must live in the direction the Sun set every evening, beyond the Great Water in the West. So Scar Face prepared himself with help from his grandmother, and when he was ready he set forth on his journey, a journey to the land of spirit. He first travelled familiar territory, but then began to enter into lands that neither he nor other members of his tribe had ever seen.

As the snow of Winter began to fall, a hundred paths became open to him, and he became confused; he did not know which way to go. He met a wolf on one path, and with great humility asked for help and direction. Knowing the goodness of his heart, the wolf spoke to him and guided him to the right path.

He travelled that path for a great distance until he came to another series of paths. Again, he became confused. He stopped, set his camp and prayed. Soon a mother Bear and her cubs appeared on the path in front of him. Again, with great humility he asked for guidance from the mother Bear. The Bear spoke with great kindness and pointed out to him the right path. Scar Face followed the bear's path for many days until the path ended. Now there were no longer any paths in front of him to follow, only the vast expanse of the great forest. As he stood and pondered in front of the forest, a wolverine approached him. He called out, "Good wolverine, my friend, I need your help." Again, he asked for direction and help from this fried. Knowing his heart and the nobility of his quest, wolverine responded with great kindness and guided him through the forest to the edge of the Great Water, where, exhausted, he made camp. He thanked the wolverine, as he had thanked each of the animals that had helped him, by offering them a gift of song and tobacco. He could see a twinkling of lights across the Great Water, and he knew that was the land of the Star People.

Scar Face did not know how to cross the water to "that place that his people talked about." But he was determined to find a way. Then two snow geese swam by and offered to take him across the Great Water. When they arrived on the other side, he thanked the geese in the same manner as he had done the other animals for their kindness and great service to him. He made camp and then fasted and prayed for three days and nights. On the fourth day, a path of sunlight began to form in front of him leading toward "that place." He leaped onto the path and followed it as it took him higher and higher into the sky. Whe he reached the end of this path of sunlight, he came to a beautiful forest and another path that was of great width as if it had been made by thousands of people travelling on it for a long, long time. As he followed the path he came upon a quiver of arrows leaning against a tree. He wondered whom they must belong to, so he waited to see. Soon, on the path coming from the other direction was an extraordinary looking Warrior dressed in richly decorated white buckskin. As the Warrior approached, Scar Face could se that this man was an image of perfection. He asked Scar Face if he had seen a quiver of arrows. In response, Scar Face showed him where the arrows were. Grateful and curious, the stranger introduced himself. "I am Morning Star." Then he asked Scar Face his name and where he was going. "I am called Scar Face and I seek the lodge of the Sun."

"Then come with me, Sun is my father and I live with my mother Moon in his lodge."

When Scar Face arrived at the lodge of the Sun, he saw that the walls were painted with the history of all people of the world. Morning Star introduced Scar Face to his mother the Moon. As his father the Sun entered the lodge, a great light entered with him. Morning Star introduced Scar Face to his father Sun, the greatest chief. Scar Face was so impressed that he could not bring himself to reveal his reasons for coming to the land of the Star People. Sun and Moon treated Scar Face with great hospitality and asked Scar Face to stay with them as long as he wished. Over the next few days, Morning Star showed Scar Face the many paths in the beautiful land of the Star People. There was one path to a distant mountainy that Sun had warned Morning Star and Scar Face never to go near. It was a mountain on the top of which lived a flock of seven giant birds that the Star People greatly feared.

One morning, Scar Face woke to find Morning Star gone. Scar Face arose and quietly left the lodge of the Sun to take a walk and decide how he might ask Sun to release Singing Rain from her vow. He thought he might meet Morning Star and ask him for advice. But as he walked, he began to feel that something was wrong, and the nearer he came to the mountain where the Giant Birds lived the stronger his feeling became. He knew that there was some reason Morning Star had gone to the forbidden mountain.

Scar Face set out in search of Morning Star. As he climbed to the top of the mountain of the Great Birds, he found Morning Star engaged in a ferocious battle with the birds. These birds were indeed savage and extremely large. They were about to overcome Morning Star when Scar Face joined the battle. Scar Face fought valiantly and soon turned the tide of battle. One by one, Scar Face and Morning Star began to kill the Giant Birds until all seven were slain and their tail feathers taken by the two warriors.

Tired, yet proud of their accomplishment Scar Face and Morning Star descended the mountain and returned to the Sun Lodge to inform Sun and Moon of the defeat of the Star People's most feared enemies. Sun and Moon were very impressed by the courage shown by both young men and were especially grateful to Scar Face for saving the life of Morning Star. In honour of the courage of Scar Face, Sun offered to fulfil any desire he would request. Yet, Scar Face could not speak his greatest desire. He remained silent until Moon, knowing his hear, spoke of Scar Face's love for Singing Rain and her vow to the Sun that prevented them from being together. Sun immediately responded by saying to Scar Face that he would release Singing Rain from her vow. Sun touched the cheek of Scar Face, and the scar he had borne all his life disappeared. Morning Star in turn gave him special personal gifts and revealed to him that he was his spirit father, confirming the feeling that Scar Face had all along. Then Sun and Moon began to sing songs in praise of Scar Face and Morning Star. Sun and Moon then gave Scar Face many gifts. In addition, Sun renamed Scar Face "Mistaken Morning Star" because now without the scar on his face he looked like Morning Star. Sun taught Mistaken Morning Star his own special dance, the Sun Dance. He said that if Earth People wished to honour him and bring health and well-being to their tribe, they should dance the Sun Dance each year when he has reached the highest place in the sky. Then Morning Star led his Earth son to the path called Wolf's trail (the Milky Way) and placed a wreath of juniper on his head. In an instant, Mistaken Morning Star was back on Earth and on a path leading to his own village.

Singing Rain was the first to meet Mistaken Morning Star as he approached the village. He told her that Sun had released her from her vow, and she knew in her heart from seeing and feeling the magnificence of him that they could now be together always. Mistaken Morning Star called the people together and taught them the rituals of the Sun Dance. He showed the women how to build the Sun Dance Lodge, and he taught the men how to conduct the sweat lodge ceremony and raise the Sun Dance pole. He taught them about the nature of sacred visioning. He taught them from "that place that the Indians talk about."

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