Goose Medicine. . .
“Aho Mitakuye Oyasin.”
A few days ago I awoke to the brushing of a gentle rain against the bedroom windows accompanied by a soft, low rumble of thunder in the distance. I lay there quietly and thanked Spirit for this gift of life, and the Thunder Beings for their service in bringing it to a very thirsty Earth. After my prayers were finished, I opened myself to the sound of the rain and let my breath take it in, merging it with my center; breathing in new life, breathing out that which takes it away.
As I sank deeper into the rhythm of my breathing, the whispering drone of raindrops became a voice that said, “Listen to me and I will teach you.” I opened myself completely now, and was almost immediately presented with the vision of an infinitely long procession of ancient and noble looking men with long gray hair, dressed in white and gray buckskin, walking single file in an easterly direction across the sky. Each man carried with him a small bucket filled with living water. I was motioned into line and given a bucket of my own. Without thinking, I dumped the water through a large thunder cloud beneath my feet and turned to walk away, following the others.
I felt conflicted for not having considered the results of my actions.
Our line drew near a large well floating on a white cloud. Each of us in turn, lowered his bucket into the well and turned to resume his duty.
The vision faded, and I was left with the impression that the lesson here was not so much about responsibility as it was about abandoning one’s self to service. The Thunder Beings, in their wisdom and generosity had confirmed for me that the key to service was in becoming the vessel for Spirit’s love and letting that love spill out of its own volition for the greatest good of all. My place in all of this was simply to become a container for it.
I thought about the Sun Moon Dance; how during the course of its sacred movement we dance to the Tree of Life in the center of the arbor to receive Spirit’s loving energy which, dancing back, we turn and allow to flow from our bodies into Creation that the people might live. We prepare ourselves for the dance by becoming the Hollow Bone, a conduit for the energy that it might spill through us and manifest in the physical world for the greatest good of All. Our intention is not to shape this energy, but merely to allow it to move as Spirit desires.
A couple days later, my wife and I were walking in a park near our home. Along the path, we were gifted with a pair of beautiful goose feathers. I was reminded of a discussion an Elder and I once had about the Medicine that Goose carries with it. As we talked, he told me that no matter how many geese there are in a flock, you can still pick out the distinct honking of each one. This, he said teaches us the importance of singing our own song.
I mentioned that I was also aware of the familial meaning of Goose. First, they never fly directly in front of one another. They stagger their formation, not only permitting the entire group to navigate more efficiently, but also allowing each member of the flock to draft the one in front of it, thereby making their journey that much easier.
Secondly, the position of leader is not a permanent one. When the lead Goose begins to get tired, it shifts position with the one behind it, dropping back voluntarily into the flock. This allows it to rest, and ensures that the flock reaches its destination.
It is these two aspects of Goose Medicine, I believe, which apply to the Thunder Beings’ Vision. When we are born into this world, we are each of us blessed with a song. And although we are the vessels of this song, we can never really lay any claim to it. Instead, we simply carry it with us, opening ourselves to service of the greater good so that one day this song will burst forth on its own, adding its unique note to the symphony of creation. Then, having allowed our song to issue forth, we step back into community and continue to sing that all might share in its beauty.
This is how one loses one’s self in the service of others, and lives for the benefit of All Our Relations. . .