The great sea has set me in motion,
set me adrift,
moving me like a reed in a river.
The sky and the strong wind
have moved the spirit inside me
till I’m carried away
trembling with joy.
(The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry edited by Stephen Mitchell, p.123)
“Uvavnuk (mid-19th-early 20th century) [was] a Netsilik Eskimo. She became a shaman in one powerful moment: ‘. . . It was a dark winter evening . . . suddenly a ball of fire appeared in the sky. It hurtled down, directly toward the place where Uvavnuk sat. She wanted to run away, but before she could, the ball of fire hit her and entered her body. All her organs, everything inside her, began to glow. Uvavnuk ran back into the house, half unconscious, and began to sing. Immediately she was delirious with joy, and all the others in the house also were beyond themselves with joy, because their minds were being cleansed of everything that burdened them’” (ibid p.164).
Uvavnuk’s shamanic experience reminds me of the Bible verse “for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb.12:29, RSV). “A ball of fire appeared in the sky.” The sky is like the heavens, the realm of the divine. “The ball of fire hit her and entered her body. . . . Everything inside her began to glow.” The holy enters her filling her body with light (enlightenment). Pictures of Roman Catholic saints show halos around their heads. Halos glow. In Christianity, they portray the holy. The divine fire possesses her with delirious joy that flows through her singing. “. . . Their minds were being cleansed of everything that burdened them.” The divine fire consumed their burdens.
In Uvavnuk’s poem, “the great sea” (the Great Mother, the divine feminine, life) “set me in motion” (births her) and moves her into the stream of destiny. Embracing her destiny she allows her spirit to be carried away after experiencing a union with the divine (the sky and the strong wind) which leaves her “trembling with joy.”
Photo Credit: Photo by Terje Asphaug at Flickr Creative Commons.
Linked with Thought-Provoking Thursday.