Tales From a Shaman: The Flying Eagle Wing

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THE FLYING EAGLE WING

This incident reinforced my belief in the authenticity of ceremony and its correlated paranormal and supernatural phenomena. At a certain juncture I was unsure if the strange manifestations I was witnessing were in fact real. I believed all that I had observed originated from the heavens, and we were in fact, worshipping the Father Creator. That is why we were all here in the Earth realm, not just for spiritual sanctification, but to honor and worship the Creator. The sacred pipe is always offered to the Creator first and foremost above all; the other heavenly beings come second.

Depending on the ceremony, it was always pitch black. You would see orbs that soared around the area, sometimes even in your face; seemingly inspecting you, sometimes even flying through you. Some orbs were stationary, usually on the ceiling, resembling stars and constellations.  The orbs varied in size, some as large as baseballs. They resembled ‘blinking eyeballs’ fluttering around. The most unusual phenomenon was the presence of spirits who would talk and sing, deliver messages, and even comment on the chant being of distant memory—or their personal favorite. The voices either came from nowhere, emanating from animal skulls, or from the medicine man’s own mouth who was acting as a medium. The voices were always distinct, depending on the entity, eventually becoming recognizable when they returned. There were so many individual spirits, we would become overjoyed when a being of legend appeared, such as the Trickster, or the Great Bear. The Great Bear had a booming loud voice that was gruff and commanded attention; very intimidating. The bear was my grandfather and always had a blessing or message for me; often chastising me for my rebellious behavior. I was just a young teen at the time. The spirits would even sound like ancient Elders who spoke an ‘old Cree’ dialect; whom an older elder would have to interpret.

I was sitting in the ceremonial setting of what we refer to as a ‘Night Lodge.’ I was in the company of the reservation’s Medicine Men. We sat in a circle, with one section occupied by the medium who sat in the eastern direction. The center contained all our offerings, such as tobacco, colored ribbon, and broadcloth. There were also shamanic relics, artifacts, and animal skulls—bear and buffalo being most prominent. We sat under the illumination of candlelight, with just enough light to fill our sacred pipes. I watched as the main medium, the lead medicine man, was tied up in fetal position with a long leather rope. He was then positioned on his side atop a bear rug, a rattle was placed inside his arms. By the end of the initial chant, he should theoretically be untied by the spirits and the leather rope rolled up into a perfect ball.

The first part of the rites was complete, the pipes were filled, we extinguished the candles, and began the summoning chant. The first song opened the doors. It was pitch black, all you could hear was the synchronized resonating beat of drums and rattles, and the beautiful chanting of the Medicine Men. You could faintly hear the whipping sounds of rope in the background, while a noticeable breeze circled the room. I heard the lead Medicine Man join in the chanting as a new song began. Soon the room was alive with spiritual activity; rattles flew in the air, eagle wings flapped and soared, orbs appeared, and spirits began to speak. Many were focused on prayer, some weeping, and were pleased as more spirits began to enter—often announcing themselves through the medium. Entities would ‘doctor’ the attendees, which involved a fluttering bird wing brushing the back, head, and body. They would intuitively target areas in need of mending, such as aching backs, muscles, and the head, which could involve trauma, PTSD, and a depressed mind. I was fascinated by the supernatural and paranormal activity, distracted and failing to pray intensely as I should have. I felt and heard the thumping of large turtle rocks and buffalo skulls. Rattles soared, some even hit me in the chest. I would pick them up and join in song, only to have them fly away to the next person. It was a fun experience for those conditioned and used to such ceremonies but would have been undoubtedly terrifying to those unfamiliar with the tangible spirit realm.

I was scanning the room for spiritual activity when an eagle wing flew in to bless me. It gently padded and brushed my back, arms, and head. I felt blessed and worthy. Then, the gentle brushing turned into hard slapping upon my face and head. The eagle’s wings stung as it continuously beat me; not realizing I was being chastised for lack of prayer. I shielded myself and began to wonder, this must be a person. Who is hitting me? I grew tired of the beating and decided to take matters into my own hands. I reached out and attempted to grab the supposed person’s arm, but my hand touched nothing but air—no one was there. The eagle wing continued to swat me, as I sat there in shock. My thoughts were racing. No one is there. This is real. It is all real. This eagle wing is really hitting me on its own. A chill ran down my spine. In that moment I recalled that historically the Medicine Men would always wrestle with spirits. This thought allowed me to gain the courage to wrestle with the eagle wing.

I reached out and grabbed the handle of the eagle wing. It was rigid and fluidly moving. There was no wrestling against the resistance of human muscle, this thing was strong and powerful. It moved where it wanted to go, and there was no stopping it. Nonetheless I did my best to wrestle with it. I was fed up with being slapped. After about five minutes of grappling with the wing, it finally stopped moving; the spirit within it departed and it grew still in my hands. What a relief! I held onto the wing securely as I did not want it to smack me again. I knew from that moment, that I fully and completely believed in magic, ceremony, spirits, and the medicine way. The eagle came to remind me to focus on prayer during ceremonies. This event changed my life as I dedicated my life to becoming a Medicine Man.

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