MEDICINE MAN -
Crazy Horse was a Medicine Man and a warrior. Not all cultures or belief systems equate priests and monks with complete pacifism. The concept of warrior-monk is well established in the tradition of Shaolin Buddhist monks. In the New Testament, Matthew 10:14, Jesus says he has come not to bring peace but a sword. The Medicine Man – Warrior is well documented in
The Journey of Crazy Horse,
by Joseph M. Marshall III.
“I can still recall the quite, utterly respectful statement made by one of those old men, that day in my boyhood by the Little White River, as they sat and talked of days of old, old days of Tasunke Witko. Wankinyan inhanbla ske, one of them said. They say he was a Thunder Dreamer. I had felt a shiver go through my body. Even at the age of six, I knew that a Thunder Dreamer had powers because the Wakinyan, the Thunder Beings came to him or her in a dream or during a vision quest. Such a person literally had a vision that was a connection to the most powerful natural element on the Plains, and spiritually becomes a heyoka, a wise fool, or a sacred clown, if you will.
A heyoka is a walking contradiction. His or her behavior at times may seem crazy or against his or her own character, but in behaving contrary to good sense or one's basic character or habits, the heyoka is actually performing a spiritual ceremony. A heyoka sacrifices his or her ego and reputation for the sake of the people. I believe that Crazy Horse was a Thunder Dreamer. That was his journey because the Wakinyan came to him in a vision, and that vision showed the way he was expected to live his life.
The vision likely didn’t provide specifics, only that he was to walk the path of giving as opposed to gaining. That would seem to explain why Crazy Horse wore plain clothing and never donned a feather bonnet, which he was certainly entitled to as an accomplished warrior. That would seem to explain why he didn’t participate in the waktoglakapi, the telling of one’s victories. He did, in fact, sacrifice his own ego and reputation for the sake of his people. And in doing so, he was honoring his journey.” The Journey of Crazy Horse, by Joseph M. Marshall III, page 288.
(Crazy Horse) “Light Hair needed to tell of a dream, a dream which came to him the second night he had spent alone on a sandstone bluff’
The Thunders. They were the powerful beings that lived in the West, perhaps the most powerful of all beings, anywhere.
Rarely did anyone dream of the Thunders, and anyone who did had a special calling to be a ‘sacred clown,’ the one who did the opposite of what was expected. Light Hair had described the lightning mark on the rider’s face, as well as the blue hailstones painted on his chest. Lightning and hail ere both strongly associated with the Thunders. “ IBID page 69-72.
“His earlier reticence was probably due to the fact that the dream did not come to him in the usual process of a hanbleceya, or ‘to cry or call out for a vision ,’ otherwise known as a ‘vision quest.’
The seeking of a vision is a serious, highly ritualized process undertaken under respectfully, prayerfully, and under the guidance of a medicine man. To seek a vision is to seek guidance for one’s life or an answer to a problem or predicament. Young Light Hair was probably afraid that the dream he had that night he spent atop a sandstone butte would not be taken seriously, because he had not followed all the rules. But it came nonetheless.
There are those who see the vision as a foretelling, almost a blow by blow revelation of laid ahead for Light Hair. It depicted a powerful Lakota warrior rising out of the lake during a thunderstorm on a horse that changes colors, riding unscathed through a hail of arrows and bullets until he is eventually pulled down by his own kind, grabbing and holding back his arms. … One elderly Lakota storyteller was of the opinion that Light Hair and his father chose not to tell everything about the vision, speculating that a warning was part of it – a warning that the boy would die as a young man in his prime.” IBID page 111.
“The long procession moved in the old way, with the holy men leading the way carrying the embers from the council fire, while the warrior groups rode on each flank, and brought up the rear.
The effect of the Sun Dance, the most holy of Lakota ceremonies, was to rekindle a sense of unity and remind the agency Lakota that the true path of the Lakota way was still very much alive and viable.
As he finished the second turn around the embankment and began the third, the old ones watching realized what Crazy Horse was doing. He was doing an old ritual know as the’ Gathering the Warriors.’ It had been done eleven years past when the Sahiyela and Blue Clouds came north after the massacre at Sand Creek. “ IBID page 216-219.
“Crazy Horse that people would slowly begin to leave, but he hoped not for a few more days.
Soon he had arranged various accoutrements that were the symbols of his calling as a holy man. He loaded his pipe offered it to the Sky, the Earth, the Four Directions,to the Grandfather, and then prayed.“ IBID page 225.
“Therefore as Sitting Bull watched Crazy Horse invoke the ancient ritual of Wica Mnaiciyapi, he probably felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction that his message was getting through.” IBID, page 271.
Thunder Beings have long been associated with tobacco and medicine pipes amoung the Blackfeet Lakota. The Medicine Pipe was given to the Blackfeet long ago, when the thunder struck down a man. While the man lay on the ground, the Thunder Cheif appeared in a vision. He showed the man a fabulous pipe, which heh gave him and make another like it. Every spring when the first thunder was heard, the pipe was brought forth and held up to God. This was the foundation of the Medicine Pipe Society.
To challenge the validity of visions, because they are not produced in the same form as one is familiar with is bigotry. Some say that Crazy Horse’s vision was not valid because it occurred on the second day of a vision quest, rather than the third. The results of a spiritual undertaking speak loader than the form, spirit is beyond form. All of the events of Crazy Horse’s visions came to pass.
The naysayers are implying that the spirits should obey them, and not show themselves until the approved time.
To stand on ceremony is the realm of the showman, not the shaman. A showman is concerned with the cover of the book, a concientious person is more concerned with what is in the book. This could be compared to relying on the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of the law.
A similar role in discrediting Native religions was played by the catholic church in their sanctioning the slaughter of South American Natives in the movie The Mission, with Robert De Niro.
Sitting Bull, another Warrior-Medicine Man, also had his spiritual role downplayed by the Hollywood-history hype.
Crazy Horse is a threat because he was effective, independent, standing up for his people and nation. The powers that be, do not want others to follow his example seeking to discredit and confuse his victories, by any means necessary.