Sacred Journey I: Land of Visions and Dreams

Alan Drengson, 1978, LightStar Press, Victoria BC

Water and Stone
Feathers & Bone
Skills of Skills
Where We Must Go

Water and Stone

Water and stone

their major needs—

their tools,

their skills,

their active deeds

brought them food and shelter.

Clothes in pounded bark;

baskets in cattails;

berries and fat

make pemmican,

power for the cold.

Resources on four feet;

animal hides make robes

for comfort

in this land

of Great Spirit bounty.

This land of winds,

of waters winding,

of grasses growing

and forests glowing

in the setting sun.

The Rockies,

backbones to this land,

these rocks

in riven stones for the hand

to mold the tools,

express their art,

find release

from darkness in the heart.

In hogans, tipis, longhouses,

and huts,

adobe, cliff dwellings,

and in the open air,

shamans practise healing arts

with cactus, mushrooms,

and other plants’

animals for allies

were their helping friends.

The Eastern hardwood forests

held a multitude of treasures:

venison, turkeys,

acorns, squash,

potatoes, & tobacco.

They grew many things,

these people

organized by councils

and fire meets,

with simple buildings

village streets,

communities of friends.

Canoes the craft they rode

and plied the waters

from East to West

and North to South,

a-voyaging with the voyageurs.

The horse

the culture of the prairie folk,

pursuing the buffalo

with the lance & bow.

They spread from the Bering

following the herds

with the seasons,

settling from the Arctic

to Tierra del Fuego.

What did these hunters

and gatherers know?

Top of page

Feathers & Bone

feathers and bone,

water and stone,

twelve pebbles rattle

in a gourd—

carved sacred pipe,

smoke cast

in six directions—

cross legged, sit

before the fire.


listen to the wind,

Great Spirit moving,

rivers rolling sound,

dry grass blowing,

rain falling,

snow balling

under soft-clad feet.

Seasons pass.

lean years, fat,

how many moons

crescent coming,

crescent passing,

how many moons

blossom full

fall sky

how many moons

cows full, cows dry

how many moons

in stillness lie

following stars

across the sky

holding an agate

grains of sand

crystals glisten

in the hand—

how many moons pass

timeless, still.

Haze makes passage with the light.

Milky Way signs in the night.

Frogs and crickets pause to hear

A Presence.

Top of page

Skills of Skills

With only stone

for tools

those gatherers,

those hunters.

Hey! They were strong people!

They fasted,



practised healing arts

with ally plants.

Ancestor animals

appeared in visions;

subconscious guardians

of an archetype

guide the hunt.

A drum dance sound

accompanied their feet;

Bear power,

Buffalo power,

Eagle power,


Hawk eyes,

Raven cries,

drum dance chant.

Their fears—

legends of the hunt

and coup—

painted on the rocks,

counted by the suns,

the moons, the seasons.

With puny weapons

the hunt required

meticulous preparation:

A clear mind,

river plunge purification.

Children of the sun,

sit in meditation,

fast before the hunt.

Unify themselves,

engage this art and practice.

Their skill was

their control of fear;

their still minds

in danger

saw them through.

They lived in a sacred circle

in this Eden earth;

its cycles were their pulse;

its Great Spirit

in their hearts.

They fasted,

prayed to be worthy,

watched and waited.

Their arts were focused

in their wills;

this hunt—

a meditation—

The seeker’s

skill of skills.

Top of page

Where We Must Go


writing out your melodies,

what more do you have

for us to see?

A vision,

a tale,

a story often told,

a quest for meaning

a search for the golden grail.

Seeking the secrets of the rings

and the cycles of all things,

we search for peace & harmony

and a balanced way of being.

So far,

we’ve also seen pain.

What else remains?

Not more of the same;

for now we know

where we must go:

On through the wilderness land,

on to the wild soul.

Top of page