With Spring Comes the Fast

I need spring to arrive! I’m longing for it much in the same way as I would for the sight and company of a dear friend disappeared from my life long ago. I want to feel the warmth of the spring sun on my face and to hear the songs of happy robins once again. My spirit stirs in my heart even as I recall memories of glorious spring days of my past.

The winter was/is long. The snow will not melt away quickly, so high its layers rest now on the valleys and hills of my ancestral land. My bet would be that there will still be traces of snow through to the end of April.

I remember a fasting ceremony I partook of in Northern Ontario a few years back. It was mid-May, yet snow was still in great abundance that year in the traditional territory of the Temagami First Nation. At least 25% of the landscape was covered in snow. It might be hard to believe, but one morning I left my fasting circle and as I made my way to the sacred fire to make a tobacco offering, to my surprise, I encountered a snake. The snake was a messenger who foretold that changes in how I viewed life were soon to arrive for me. And they did.

Fasting at a special site in the forest is big medicine, you gain greatly in both the emotional and spiritual realms when you complete it.

The centre of the fasting circle is a sacred place where the bad become good, if that is their intent, where the addict will find the strength to turn away from the bottle and where the mind of a dysfunctional human being learns a new way to deal with bitterness and rage. At the fasting site every sound coming from nature is spiritually noted by the individual hearing them. The fragrances emitting from plants, those alive in the circle and even those decaying on the forest floor around you, sit on your tongue and you give thanks for it as if it was the most precious and sweetest of candy. And your soul sings gleefully with each breath you take. Such is the power of the fasting circle.

Prayers at a fasting site often come with tears. You see, your physical self is weak and when your spirit speaks in the circle, you are eventually overtaken and tears flow. Prayer is something serious. Your words of prayer must come from the heart. Prayer, the heart, the spirit, the fasting site, spring, a human being, when we are one we conquer all of life’s challenges. I bring the hands of my children and grandchildren with me when I go to the fasting site. I hold them tightly and though my loved ones are not physically with me, they gain spiritually as I do from the fasting ceremony. Of this I have no doubt.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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