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A Native American prayer to guide us in the New Year

By Paul Viau | Jan 18, 2017
Photo by: File photo INSPIRATION FROM NATURE — The Great Smoky Mountains never cease to amaze and inspire. Day after day. Sunrise to sunset.

It’s 2017, and I’m having trouble writing that number on a check, an e-mail or anything else. Truth be known, I’m even having trouble looking past the 1900s these days. I guess I’ll always be a child of the 1960s.

But I know very well that it’s a new Millennium. This is my first experience with a new Millennium, and the word itself is troubling. If you ask me, Millennium has too many double consonants for its own good. And why does the word need to be capitalized? These are questions that won’t be answered in my lifetime, so I’m moving on.

Like many of us, I’m happy to have 2016 in the rear view mirror, and look to the future for hope.

At a recent gathering of church friends, after joining together in prayer, one of the ladies in attendance, who has spent a lot of time working with the Cherokee, brought up the subject of a Native American prayer, based on the four directions — north, south, east and west.

At first, I thought she was talking about my own personal prayer of the four directions — asking God’s help to know what direction I was traveling, and where to turn at the next intersection.

Sadly, I often get ‘turned around’ or just plain lost here in the mountains, which never happened when I lived in Colorado.

Anyway, back to the Native American prayer to the four directions. I have always been interested in Native American craft and culture. My wife and I have visited several pueblos in Arizona and New Mexico, but neither of us knew the prayer to the four directions.

A Google search led to a short and powerful prayer that really spoke to us.

Since America has seen some troubling times of late, this prayer might help all of us get back on track, look inward, find peace of mind — and even a little direction — from the people who first inhabited this great land. I want to pray this often throughout the New Year.

Prayer to the Four Directions

“Great Spirit of Love, come to me with the power of the North (white). Make me courageous when the cold wind falls upon me. Give me strength and endurance for everything that is harsh, everything that hurts, everything that makes me squint. Let me move through life ready to take what comes from the north.

Great Spirit of Light, come to me out of the East (red) with the power of the rising sun. Let there be light in my words, let there be light on my path that I walk. Let me remember always that you give the gift of a new day. And never let me be burdened with sorrow by not starting over again.

Great Spirit of Creation, send me the warm and soothing winds from the South (yellow). Comfort me and caress me when I am tired and cold. Unfold me like the gentle breezes that unfold the leaves on the trees. As you give to all the earth your warm, moving wind, give to me, so that I may grow close to you in warmth. Man did not create the web of life, he is but a strand in it. Whatever man does to the web, he does to himself.

Great Life-Giving Spirit, I face the West (black), the direction of sundown. Let me remember every day that the moment will come when my sun will go down. Never let me forget that I must fade into you. Give me a beautiful color, give me a great sky for setting, so that when it is my time to meet you, I can come with glory.