As part of our ongoing indigenous spiritual practices, my wife Trini and I spent several days on the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation to take part in a Hamblecha ceremony, facilitated by one of our elders and teachers, Ed Young Man Afraid of His Horse. This is also known as Vision Quest, done in the traditional way where a day and night are considered two days. We were there on the rolling hills of Ed's land, within a circle of prayer ties, sage, and surrounded by choke berry branches and "holy people"--figures we made of cloth and tobacco--for two days and two nights (or "four days" in the Lakota cosmology). We had no food or drink (except sage tea each morning). We were surrounded only by nature: Trees, insects, birds, cows, bulls (a few were grazing the land), and wild weather . And we had ourselves--our hearts, our pains, our fears, our hopes, our dreams. And many prayers. Our brother-in-law, and fellow water pourer for the San Fernando Sweat Lodge, Hector Herrera, also took part. And our long-time friend and mentor in these ways, Frank Blazquez (Tekpaltzin) also came from Chicago to help us on the Hill and to maintain the fire. We were also pleased to have Kati Regalado and her father, Willie Regalado, there on Ed's land. Kati was coming down the hill the day we went up. Originally from Peru, they've lived in Chicago for close to thirty years. I met Kati when she was around 14 years old during one of my many talks in schools (she’s now close to 30 years old). She also took part in Youth Struggling for Survival (and Video Machete), which I helped create in Chicago to work with gang and nongang youth. Kati and her father were very supportive and we were honored they stayed a little bit longer to see us through the ceremony. I won't get into the particulars of our particular ordeals/experiences other than to say it was all healing and powerful. We had major winds and storms during most of our time on the Hill. But we hanged in there and found our way back to the fire, to the sweat lodge, back to our teachers and friends. Hector was also blessed with a chanupa, the sacred pipe, which he will now carry for the community back in the Northeast San Fernando Valley/Los Angeles area. Ed Young Man Afraid of His Horse provided the blessings and ceremony for the pipe. It's a deep responsibility. I know Hector (of Yaqui/Raramuri descent), will carry this with dignity, honor, and respect. We sent many prayers to our families, our friends, some with cancer and other illnesses, and our community as well as for the healing & health of our nation and world. In particular, I thought often of my son Ramiro, presently in prison now for twelve years. In two more years, he'll be released and we are preparing now for his orientation and strength as well as for the family's and the community. Other prisoners and friends just released were also in my prayers. We thank Ometeotl/Tunkasila, the Creator, and all the energies and elements of the world and universe for protecting us, teaching us, and guiding us through the sacred ceremony of the Vision Quest. O'Mitakusin ("All Our Relations"). c/s
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