Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
I love to sing…blessed to be in the choir at St. Isaac Jogues and learn Lakota. I especially enjoy singing the four directions song to honor God, our Creator. When Lakota (Native Americans in the Great Plains) pray or hold sacred ceremonies they pray the four directions song. They see the world as having four directions, each has a special meaning and color associated with it. The sacred medicine wheel forms a cross with its four distinct colors. This song is powerful singing praise to Wanka Tanka- the Great Spirit!
When we are open to other forms of worship, we become alive and tolerant of other traditions that allow our own faith and spirituality to blossom. It provides me the courage to respect and honor our Native American traditions and fully unite as brothers and sisters in Christ. For it is the Native Americans who culturally believe that we are all related. Is that not what Jesus tells us in Mathew 12:50, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
It is well documented that Jesus walked the America’s amongst the Indigenous people. He was described as the ‘Saintly White Man”, controlling the wind, water, and elements. He performed many miracles and the common message to all was of Peace and Love. So let us shout for joy as we choose to glorify God globally. Let us choose Love and Peace!
I have also included some more information below for you regarding the Lakota medicine wheel. I was given one of these wheels when I first started working with the Lakota. It has my name on it and I proudly hang in our home.
When the Lakota people pray or do anything sacred, they see the world as having four directions. From these four directions come the four winds. Each direction has a special meaning and color associated with it. The cross symbolizes all directions.
East (Yellow) - The direction from which the sun comes. Light dawns in the morning and spreads over the earth. This is the beginning of a new day. It is also the beginning of understanding because light helps us see things the way they really are. On a deeper level, East stands for the wisdom helping people live good lives. Traditional people rise in the morning to pray facing the dawn, asking God for wisdom and understanding.
South (Red) - Because the southern sky is when the sun is at its highest, this direction stands for warmth and growing. The sun's rays are powerful in drawing life from the earth. It is said the life of all things comes from the south. Also, warm and pleasant winds come from the south. When people pass into the spirit world, they travel the Milky Way's path back to the south - returning from where they came.
West (Black) - To the west, the sun sets, and the day ends. For this reason, west signifies the end of life. As Black Elk says, "... toward the setting sun of his life." The great Thunderbird lives in the west and sends thunder and rain from its direction. For this reason, the west is also the source of water: rain, lakes, streams and rivers. Nothing can live without water, so the west is vital.
North (White) - North brings the cold, harsh winds of the winter season. These winds are cleansing. They cause the leaves to fall and the earth to rest under a blanket of snow. If someone has the ability to face these winds like the buffalo with its head into the storm, they have learned patience and endurance. Generally, this direction stands for hardships and discomfort to people. Therefore, north represents the trials people must ensure and the cleansing they must undergo.
**NOTE: When the Lakota pray with the Sacred Pipe, they add two other directions: Sky and Earth. The Great Spirit - Wakan tanka - dwells high above like an eagle in the sky; this direction's color is blue. Earth is our Mother and Grandmother from whom we receive our nourishment. The color of this direction is green for all growing things.**