Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": AN ARAPAHO PRAYER


The Arapaho are an Algonquian tribe now settled in Oklahoma. With this prayer pronounced by the priest, a woman is consecrated. She impersonates the Mother of creation.

My Father, have pity upon us! Remember that we are your children since the time you created the heavens and the earth, with a man and woman!

Our Grandfather, the Central-Moving Body, who gives light, watch us in the painting of the belt which our Father directed, as it is before us! Now speak to your servant who is to wear the belt! Look at her with good gifts, and may she do this for the benefit of the new people (children) so that this tribe shall have strength and power in the future! . . .

We cannot cease praying to you, my Father, Man-Above, for we desire to live on this earth, which we are now about to paint on this occasion. We have given this belt to the sweet smoke for our purity hereafter. May our thought reach to the sky where there is holiness. Give us good water and an abundance of food!


G. A. Dorsey, The Arapaho Sun Dance, Field Columbian Museum Anthropology Series, IV (1903), p. 74

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