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09.06.2014
As a note of warning, be sure to turn off the auto read feature while at work or you might be very embarrassed. They offer a free version and a couple of paid options.  The free version is limited to 25 words, but if I only have it read SMS that should be plenty. The Photo History 1993-2011 presents a visual record of the rich tapestry of participants, cultures, religions and beliefs that incorporate the Prayer Vigil for the Earth.
The Prayer Vigil for the Earth is a living prayer woven into a seamless tapestry of many traditions through collective experiences of faith. The Prayer Vigil for the Earth honors North American native traditions in several ways: First, through constructing in a blessing way the Sacred Circle or Hoop as a container for two days of Prayer Vigil activities. During each Prayer Vigil, volunteers construct a Peace Village which can consist of Native American tipis, altars and sacred structures from many different religions and spiritual practices, labyrinths and various kinds of shelters. The Sacred Fire offers participants an opportunity to align the fire of their hearts, with the fire in the center of the Earth and the fire of the Sun.
Clyde Bellecourt, Thunder Before the Storm, Ojibway Nation, leading the Sunrise Ceremony.TheEagle Bone Whistle is considered very sacred and to blow them for anyother purpose would not be respectful. On the Prayer Vigil for the Earth: “I know it sounds strange, but I love each and everyone of you that comes here and those all over the world. Grandmother Grace Smith Yellowhammer, Dine (Navajo) Elder, Founding Mother of the Prayer Vigil for the EarthA tireless worker on behalf of her people and all people, Grace Smith Yellowhammer has represented Indigenous issues to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, at the United Nations in NY, and with Congressional representatives in Washington, DC. Since the beginning years of the Prayer Vigil of the Earth, geese seemto welcome us as they fly overhead at propitious moments, such as atsunrise or sunset, prayer times, talking circles or moments whenwisdoms are shared by the Elders.When the participants in thePrayer Vigil are in deep sincere prayer or focused on a spiritualvision or ceremony, such resonance with nature in the immediateenvironment can happen with surprising regularity. Participants give tobacco prayers into the sacred fire to follow the Native American tradition of releasing the prayers to the Creator (God) in the form of smoke which rises to the sky. Water Ceremony Prayer of Invocation to the Spiritual Energies of Light in the Four Directions. The Round Dance, which is guided by the sacred drum, is a Native American community celebration dance that brings everyone together.
The ceremony began when Sufi Lukman Boca and Rabbi David Schneyer ripped a small, black cloth in half to symbolize that they recognize the mutual suffering their people have endured as a result of their conflict. Following their standing under the Jewish marriage cloth in a commitment to a life-affirming future, the Muslim and the Jewish people present invited all the Vigil participants to walk underneath the marriage cloth. But the Saints of the Most High shall take the Kingdom, and possess the Kingdom forever, ever forever, and ever. Shinji Shumeikai is a Japanese-based spiritual fellowship dedicated to the enhancement of life.
In the spring of 1993, a group of young people in Oakland, CA supported the idea of promoting a National Apology for Native Americans in Washington, DC.
First Prayer Vigil for the Earth, October 9-10, 1993The site of an historic, unplanned meeting of two of the Great Plain's Wisdom Keepers: The Keeper of the Sacred Calf Pipe (Lakota) and the Keeper of the Hat (Cheyenne).
Known for his humor, love of people, dedication, and wisdom,Harry F.Byrd was a Sundance singer, radio announcer on thePine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, hard worker, and clearspokesperson for peace and unity. Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, Nineteenth GenerationFounder of the World Peace and Prayer Day, June 21“We gather so that our future generations may survive through peace and balance. Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, Nineteenth GenerationFounder of the World Peace and Prayer Day, June 21“Wegather so that our future generations may survive through peace andbalance.
As mentor, model and teacher to youth and young adults in Washington DC,Baba Ngoma provided inspiration to many young people anddrummers. Near Oraibi, Arizona, there is a petroglyph known as Prophecy Rockwhich symbolizes many Hopi prophecies. As with imagemaking, Aboriginal music also unites consciousness with the invisible laws and energy patterns of nature. Keeper of the Seven Fires Wampum Belt of the Anishnabe (Algonquin) Peoples and often called “The Gandhi of the Indian World”The Seven Fires Prophecy of the Anishnabe is spiritually encoded in the belt. White Earth Anishinabe-Ojibway Nation, American Indian Movement Co-founderClyde is a founder and Director of the American Indian Movement. The female voice that comes with the free version was surprising life-like without any trace of the old robotic sounding voices from the past.  I had my son send me test message and was shocked when the girl first told me the phone number it came from then said the message clearly and accurately. We have selected images that we believe are representative of the experience of the Vigil since its inception in 1993.
On the left side of the photo before the Washington Monument is the Vigil kitchen, used to feed the Elders, Vigil participants and volunteers. They are used by the shamans ofAsia and the Native Peoples of North America and by Medicine Men tocall spirits, blown in time with the drum by the dancers during the SunDance, and used during the Grass Dance.The tibula bone of aneagle wing is used for the whistle.
At the conclusion of the first small Prayer Vigil for the Earth in October 1993, Grace insisted that the event go forward encouraging the co-founders, Betsy Stang, David Berry, and Sharon Franquemont, to carry on the annual work.
Some years we havelooked up from our circle on the National Mall to see a bald eagle incircling high above us, a rare experience above one of America's fivelargest cities. The exact history of Japanese Taiko drum remains shrouded in speculation, although some educated guesses are possible. The purpose changed when Wisdom Keepers suggested the event be spiritual rather than political. Today, the ceremony lives on and is called "Mikotonori," in whichthe sound of drumming bridges the divide between the human and thedivine.
Aboriginal art is perhaps most accurately described as a method for gaining knowledge of nature and its invisible Dreaming.
The belt is sewn with thousands of tiny, polished, cylindrical purple and white sea shell beads woven together with leather strips.This Wampum Belt has been handed down among the Algonquin for hundreds of years. Chief William Commanda, the 89 year old spiritual elder of the Algonquin Nation is now the present holder of this belt, which is believed to have come into existence circa 1400 CE.
He was a major figure in the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973 and played a founding role in an ongoing Indian School System, Legal Rights Center and the International Indian Treaty Council. People of diverse faiths, cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and ages come together to practice and experience peace with self, peace with others, and peace with the Earth.


It is attached to a buckskin cordand tipped with a white plume feather from the breast of a goldeneagle.
For larger dance or powwow type drums, the basic construction is very similar in most tribes: a wooden frame or a carved and hollowed-out log, with rawhide buckskin or elk skin stretched out across the opening by sinew thongs. Nature often echo's our activity with the arrival of apair of osprey, a pattern in the clouds, or a wonderful coincidence ofa person with some connection to the ceremony going on, just happens tobe going by the Vigil site and walks in at a "perfect" time.
The elders say that all ceremonies, tribal or private, must be entered into with a good heart so that we can pray, sing, and walk in a sacred manner, and be helped by the spirits to enter the sacred realm.Native people throughout the world use herbs to accomplish this. The oldest physical evidence of taiko in Japan is a haniwa clay figure of a drummer that dates from the sixth or seventh century. Committedto interfaith experiences, Baba traveled to Pipestone, MN to offer hisdrumming to Native American sundancers. Our energy as the combined will of all people with the spirit of the Natural World will make us be of one body, one heart, and one mind for peace.”“Look behind you.
An example is the playing of the didjeridoo, a long wooden flute, perhaps the oldest musical instrument on earth.Traditionally, an Aborigine would go into nature and listen intensely to animal sounds, not just voices but also the flapping of wings or the thump of feet on the ground.
It has seven Diamonds which represent the Seven Fires.Grandfather Commanda and other Traditional Leaders believe that we have entered the time of the Seventh Fire, which is the time of decision between the two roads of materialism and of spirituality. The Seven Fires Prophecy is ancient but its message is relevant for today's world and for us, who must bring about a new balance to our lives and to the environment which we need for survival.
He is also directing the Peacemaker Center for Indian youth and the AIM Patrol which provides security for the Minneapolis Indian community. We have included captions for each image that identifies the participant or event and provides more in-depth information. The Native American host tradition is joined by spiritual leaders and representatives from all major faiths. One common ceremony is to burn certain herbs, take the smoke in one's hands and rub or brush it over the body. However, since the first instruments in any society tend to be percussion instruments, it would not be out of the question for taiko (as we know them today) to have been used in Japan for well over 2000 years.Japanese taiko as we know them today bear strong resemblance to Chinese and Korean instruments, which were probably introduced in the waves of Korean and Chinese cultural influence from 300-900 AD. The Aborigine would also listen to the sounds of wind, thunder, trees creaking, and water running. If the light skinned race chooses the right road, then the Seventh Fire will light the Eighth and final Fire, an internal Fire of peace, love, brotherhood and sisterhood. We carried it proudly all the way back to one of their houses and proceeded to patch the hole with a piece of plywood and tar. A sacred fire burns continuously in the center of a circle of Christian and African altars, tipis, a Jewish sukkah, a Tibetan stupa and tent, a labyrinth, a Prayer Grove, a children’s activity area and other areas.
The very next day a tornado's funnelcloud passed directly over the Prayer Vigil site but did not touch ordamage the area.
It has been speculated that the predecessor of the tsuzumi style of taiko may come from as far as India, and came to Japan along with Buddhism. We are faced with either chaos and disaster, or we can unite spiritually in peace and harmony. We are faced with either chaos anddisaster, or we can unite spiritually in peace and harmony. Mikotonori is a prayer in which thehopes and thankfulness of those participating rise straight to God.Such occasions of transcendence are known as " kanno doko," moments inwhich the spiritual and physical worlds speak to each other and areentwined with divine light.
The essences of all these sounds were played with as much accuracy as possible within the droning sound of the didjeridoo. The tipis and various holy structures stand as symbols of spiritual community in view of the monuments and Capitol dome that are symbols of our nation. However, the waves of cultural influence stopped for the most part around the year 900, and development from that point can basically be attributed to native Japanese craftsmen.
Look farther and see your sons’ and your daughters’ children and their children’s children even unto the Seventh Generation.
It was at such a moment that the ShumeiTaiko Ensemble was born.Shumei Taiko Ensemble believes that artcan touch every human being despite the differences of language,customs, race and religion.
The "life path" established bythe Great Spirit divides into the lower, narrow path of continuous Lifein harmony with nature and the wide upper road of white man'sscientific achievements.
The mystical power which springs from theartist’s soup passes through the written word, the picture and themusical instrument, and plucks at the soul of all humankind. The bar between the paths, above the cross, isthe coming of white men; the Cross is that of Christianity.
Our grandfathers said the 7th generation would provide new spiritual leaders, medicine people, doctors, teachers and our great chiefs.
The supreme being sent Obatala or Orishanla down from the sky to create some land out of the chaos.
Taiko were definitely used in battle to issue commands and coordinate movements by the 1500's; the taiko being the only instrument that could be heard across the entire battlefield. There is a spiritual rebirth going on." Dedicated to helping the people and fostering pride in Indian youth, Clyde says,"Learn who you are. He descended on a long chain (umbilical cord) and brought with him a rooster, some iron, and a palm kernel.
In Plains nations, the floor of the sweat lodge is frequently covered with sage, and participants rub the leaves on their bodies while in the sweat. According to picture scrolls and painted screens of the time, one soldier would carry the taiko lashed to a backpack-like frame, while two other soldiers would beat the taiko, on each side. Thefour small human figures on the upper road represent, on one level, thepast three worlds and the present; on another level, the figuresindicate that some of the Hopi will travel the white man's path, havingbeen seduced by its glamour. One of the boys found a canoe paddle in the weeds and we three got into the boat and started to paddle out. Sage is also commonly spread on the ground in a lodge or on an altar where the pipe touches the earth.


The two circles on the lower Path of Lifeare the "great shaking of the earth" (World Wars One and Two). Some nations wrap their pipes in sage when they are placed in pipe-bundles, as sage purifies objects wrapped in it. A war taiko used by Shingen Takeda, a famous warlord of that era, still exists and is preserved by Osuwa-daiko. Later whenever you think about them, say to yourself, "It isin greater hands than mine" and don't worry. Theswastika in the sun and the Celtic cross represent the two helpers ofPahana, the True White Brother.
The short line that returns to thestraight Path of Life is the last chance for people to turn back tonature before the upper road disintegrates and dissipates. We feverishly paddled with that one oar and bailed out the water with our hands and an old can. This served to increase the volume of the drum, useful in battle.In addition to the martial aspect, taiko have always been used in the most refined cultural settings as well. The smallcircle above the Path of Life, after the last chance, is the GreatPurification, after which corn will grow in abundance again when theGreat Spirit returns. Barely we made it to shore and got out just before the boat sank below the water and headed downstream.
Sometimes, one person will smudge another, or a group of people, using hands - or more often a feather - to lightly brush the smoke over the other person(s). Gagaku music was introduced to Japan in the Nara periord (697-794) along with Buddhism, and was quickly adopted as the imperial court music.
Wet, cold and shaking the three of us headed home knowing we would never tell our parents of this stupid adventure. Gagaku is the oldest continually played court music in the world, and it is still being performed. TheHopi shield in the lower right corner symbolizes the Earth and theFour-Corners area where the Hopi have been reserved. We were lucky to be alive and it was only by Goda€™s grace that I can live to tell about it. The taiko used for Gagaku (kakko, san-no-tsuzumi, dadaiko, tsuri-daiko, ninai-daiko, ikko, furitsuzumi, kaiko) are some of the most elegant and beautifully decorated of all Japanese instruments.The rumbling power of the taiko has also been long been associated with the gods, and has been appropriated by the religions of Japan. The arms of thecross also represent the four directions in which they migratedaccording to the instructions of the Great Spirit.
Sometimes that other road will bring you back to your original path and sometimes it will take you farther away from it.
But God used him to gather and lead his people out of Pharaoha€™s slavery and split the Red Sea in two.A  Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and was cast into prison but became the second most powerful person inEgypt. Or, maybe just maybe a smile or a kind word from you to a stranger may just prevent them from going home and ending their own life and their grandson will some day save the world.
He will bring to light things that are now hidden in darkness, and will make known the secret purposes of people's hearts. Throw your troubled waters out of your boat and paddle on down that river of life with Him at your side. You have ears, but you don't really listen.Psalm 13:2 -- How long must I worry and feel sad in my heart all day?
I have been praying for something to happen for 4A? years now and what I prayed for was not granted. Leta€™s speak of reality a€“ He is God and He can do what He wants to or not do what He doesna€™t want to. We cannot command the Lord to do anything whether we do it in pleading, tears, anger, or desperation. If God has the will, He may answer our prayers about life but nothing says that He absolutely has to.
All we have is the hope that he will hear us, see what we are going through, and grant us a little drop of His mercy in this life. He will cure a cancer, heal the deaf, grow an arm back or bring someone back to life but that does not mean He will do it all the time.
He has given us guidance through His word (the Bible) and occasionally gives us a nudge or lesson to learn from but basically kicks us out of the nest like the mother bird does to face the challenges of life.
I get so frustrated at times that my prayers are not answered and I have to keep reminding myself that this is my life and I need to deal with it on my own sometimes. Their job is to preach the message to inspire, encourage, and give hope to their congregations. If we are to be an example of His mercy to others, it can only be done with people of lesser stature than us.
He wants us to spread the Gospel and not make up stories of what He has done for us personally in life. Just show others how you believe in His salvation and forgiveness and tell them of His Word.
He has promised everything in His kingdom of Heaven to those who accept His Son as Lord and Savior. Life here is just a temporary setback, trial and test to see if we are worthy of everlasting life sharing in His love -- or without it in a very dark place. So accept His Son as your Lord and claim the only real promise that He made to us --- Forgiveness and Salvation.



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