Sunday, September 6, 2009
Feminine Power the Lakota Way
“Our way of leading is a combination of very direct and indirect at the same time, ”Pansy says. “This is the story of the spider and the spider web. If you look at the spider web it is a very light and fine material. And the spider is very heavy. There’s a lot of weight there, but the web holds. The Lakota style of leading is similar in that what seems is not what is. It might not look like you’re leading. We don’t lead by moving people around, telling them what to do. A leader is present in the background. The leading is hidden, like the spider’s web, but the job gets done, like the spider being held. Even though you are a leader, you have to continue to work, to follow, to listen, to watch, to support those in front of you. In your strength you’re leading, but it makes you focus on your skills as a follower.
The power of getting things done in an outer sense is not how it is in sacred space. In sacred space I’ll know I need to say something by listening inside, and only when I’m talking do I know what it is I’m saying.”
In ceremony, intuition and spontaneity are the ruling factors, and intuition and spontaneity are only possible from a place of space and freedom. Pansy offers an example of this unstructured power. “We show up ten days before the huge Sun Dance starts. At the Sun Dance there’s maybe three to four hundred people camped. Ten days before the ceremony nothing is done, nothing is started. We show up and people kind of know what they do best. And they go, and they get it done. There are people who chop wood, there are people who prepare the arbor, there are people who prepare the sweat lodges, people who get the food, people who get the stones. We don’t have a manager! We don’t have a director! Each component just starts happening, then it sort of comes together.
“About half way through you can see form taking place. And the arbor where we do the ceremony starts to come together. The women go and pull the cactus so the dancers don’t step on the cactus. Minor details, but everything is taken care of. Down to the last detail everything is done. And there is not one person taking reports on how things are going. No one gets fired for not doing their part. None of that kind of external structure works. People from inside out are doing the work.
Excerpt from The Unknown She, by Hilary Hart