"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Sacred Spirit

"Sacred Spirit," 8 x 10 acrylic on canvas panel

What is "sacred"?

Historically from the Middle Ages, it's linked in Latin and other languages with sanctification, saint; it implies connection with the divine. The meaning has changed over the years, its application broadening. 

A better question is "What is sacred to you?" It belongs to no one religious or cultural belief, and symbolizes many things. It probably varies with every person, even without religious or spiritual meanings.

The more I read of Native American beliefs and cultures, the more impressed I am. If there is a symbol of the heritage of those people, to me it is the bison, the American buffalo.

Foremost in their spiritual heritage is the white buffalo, and their beliefs hold meaning we need today in this chaotic time. Only about one in ten million buffalo will be born white, according to science.

What is more impressive to me is what the Lakota and others believe, from stories almost 2,000 years old. I found this on the American Indian College Fund blog:

"The Lakota and other tribes believed that a white buffalo is the most sacred living thing on earth... .

"The American buffalo or bison is a symbol of abundance and manifestation... The birth of a sacred white buffalo is a sign of hope and an indication of good times to come. For many American Indians, the birth of a white buffalo calf is the most significant of prophetic signs... ."

The Lakota term for the white buffalo is "tatanka," and sacred or divine-- "Wakan Tanka."

That's the spirit and inspiration behind today's acrylic painting. In the middle of these political, biological and environmental turmoil, we need some good omens of good times to come.

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