Tuesday Attitude: Bein’ real.
“The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we would appear to be; all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice and experience of them.” -Socrates
“In response to MD’s posting of the photograph of feathers tied on one of the poles in the gym, several folks have asked about the meaning. The Plains Indians tied feathers and other symbolic items together as a way to honor the memory of warriors felled in battle. These would be placed on or near the burial sites of those that were killed. Many times they were hung in trees or on ceremonial staffs. These Warrior Feathers were tied as a way to honor our fallen brother Pags.
There are seven hawk feathers tied with sinew to 4-strands of red wool with black beads. There are also seven different colored glass beads placed on wire. The jingle cones, of which there are also seven on each side, were placed on black leather thong. There is also a pink abalone button placed in the center (this has a personal meaning to me which I will not share).
The numbers 4 and 7 have significance in all Native American cultures. The number 4 shows up on Medicine Wheels, among other items, and has several significant meanings. Four is representative of the four compass directions, North, South, East and West, of which all have meanings unto themselves. It also represents the four elements of Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water, the four characteristics of man, Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual, and the four components of the cycle-of –life: birth, youth, maturity and death.
Colors also have significant meaning and seven colors in particular. The colors are blue, black, red, yellow, white, green and purple. The Lakota Medicine Wheel incorporates the following meanings for the colors… Blue is representative of Father Sky, Black represents the west direction and is the sign of the Horse Spirit, Red represents the north direction and is the sign of the Buffalo Spirit, yellow is the in the east and is a sign of the Deer Spirit, and white is located in the south and is a symbol of the Bird Spirit. Green is the color of the Earth Mother and Purple is representative of the whole of the Universe. There are also human virtues associated with the four colors of the cardinal directions; black: strength and courage, red: guidance and direction, yellow: humility, kindness and compassion, white: health, healings and happiness.
The number 7 encompasses all of the above, the Seven Directions represented by the colors and seven generations of their people in each direction, past and present, and the belief that what we do during our life times will affect the next seven generations of our people. Seven generations are considered a cycle, and in that belief it is held that all living things are connected by a web of life, and what we do to the web we do to all living things, good or bad, it will require seven generations for it to run its course.
So, in closing I will say that there is much meaning in what may appear to be a simple symbol, which is the way Native Cultures lived their lives for hundreds of years, simply and in balance with all living things. It is through this simple yet deep meaning tribute I choose to honor our brother Kyle Pagerly for a selfless, exemplary life, which he lived, giving to and sacrificing for his people, and I hope maybe, just maybe you all can take a little piece of it and hold it close in your hearts in remembrance of our fallen hero!”
Mitaukye O’yasin! Wankan Tanka Nici Un! -Johnnie