My tribe is known as the Wai’a’atika. During my spirit walk to meet my totem as a young warrior brave, the Great Bear came to me. He told me he would walk the warrior path with me, teaching me his ways. The Great Bear wisdom is the way of courage and peace. Size and strength matter but it is only the foolish who let brash fierceness lead the way. The Bear warrior’s heart tempers the way balancing harmony and respect for all living things. For truly the Great Bear is a lover of peace and tranquility.
It is now my duty and honour to teach the ways of the warrior to my son. This is my story.
NANUNJA STARTS HIS TRAINING
The pinking pre-dawn sky with its fresh, slightly chilled air woke Nanunja at his usual time. He stirred and stretched his stiffened, aching limbs, wondering why he felt this way. Opening his eyes for the first time, it took a while for him to orient himself to the surroundings in which he found himself. He was curled up on the ground by a campfire somewhere deep in the forest. A fur blanket covered his body which was resting on a mat of soft leaves. Nearby a campfire burned cheerfully. The Shaman squatted next to it cooking a delicious smelling breakfast of freshly ground cornmeal bread while a rabbit slowly roasted on a spit. Wisps of memory started to emerge of last night’s ceremony.
Nanunja slowly stood up. Turning his face to Father Sky he stretched his arms high and greeted the day in his accustomed manner before heading off for his morning ablutions. Returning awake and refreshed to the enclosure, he squatted next to the Shaman. Silently they ate their meal. It was delicious. Having sated their physical need for nourishment, the Shaman motioned for Nanunja to follow him into the sacred circle within the enclosure. Not a word had been exchanged yet.
Nanunja knew from past experience that the Shaman would speak when the time was right. He had learned patience over the years and knew better than to break the silence. Whilst he waited Nanunja surveyed the scene around him looking for signs of what had so recently happened here. There was none that he could see. It was almost as if he had dreamed it all, yet he knew it was not so. He wondered just how long ago it had been. Judging by his hunger and the stiffness of his body on waking, he knew it must have been more than one passing of the sun across the sky.
Lost in his thoughts, it was a while before he realised the Shaman was standing next to him waiting patiently. In his hands he held a bundle of leather scrolls tied with rawhide straps. Beckoning for Nanunja to follow him, he led them both to a simple wooden table made of three logs that had been roughly hewn to form a top and two sturdy legs. It had been set up nearby. Briefly Nanunja wondered when it had been placed there for he had not noticed it before. Squatting in front of it, the Shaman laid all but one of the scrolls on the ground next to him. The other he unrolled onto the table. Nanunja saw that it was covered in images he did not recognise or understand. There seemed to be a series of images all together followed by a space before another such set began. The whole inside of the scroll was covered in this curious fashion.
Thus began his instruction into the sacred rites, rituals and lores of Shamanism.
We leave Nanunja now. The instruction is his alone.
As is only right for it is the way of the Shaman.
© Raili Tanska
Images – Pixabay