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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Monday May 27th 2024

Wakan Tanka

by Peter Molenaar

It took on the order of 200,000 years for humankind to develop a written language. Subsequently, “the word” accumulated in the form of scripture which in turn made literacy a requirement for entry into “the faith”. Hence, the emergence of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) within the once vast sea of illiteracy.

Note: the various peoples of this neighborhood might do well to acknowledge that we all reside upon Dakota land.

Prior to Abraham, prior even to the Druid elites of Pagan Europe, it was the vision quest which nourished the spiritual community. The trekker was rewarded by nature”'s unforeseen coincidences, including close encounters with curious animals. Such were the revelations of “the great spirit”.

Note: A totem animal should be regarded as but one aspect of Wakan Tanka.

Prior to the existence of life sustaining planets, was there a great spirit? Or, did mind emerge merely as a function of highly evolved central nervous systems? Perhaps, as some have suggested, Wakan Tanka translates better as “the great mystery”.

Who among us has not noticed the great flock of crows which resides in this neighborhood during the winter months? What is the explanation for this? I suggest we observe them with great respect and admiration. Might we embrace the crow as our totem connection?

As for me, I will continue to function as a philosophical materialist i.e. liberation in the spiritual realm can be achieved only as we collectively re-harmonize to the material realm (matter is primary). Yet I confess the possibility that matter and spirit have coexisted for eternity and express my preference for the spiritual outlook of preliterate peoples.

I walk upon Dakota land.

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