Fools Crow agreed with Black Elk when he said, "I cured with the power that came through me. Of course, it was not I who cured, it was the power from the Outer World, the visions and the ceremonies had only made me like a hole through which the power could come to the two
leggeds. If I thought that I was doing it myself, the hole would close up and no power could come through. Then everything I could do would be foolish." He believed that the Higher Powers taught that this healing power comes in and through a person first to make us what we should be, and then flows through us and out to others.
In his becoming a hollow bone, Fools Crow believed that he went through four stages.
First, he called in Wakan Tanka to rid themselves of everything about them that would get in the way, such as doubt, questions or reluctance.
Then he recognized himself as a clean vessel or tube, ready to be filled with hope, possibilities, and anxious to be filled with power.
He experienced the power as it came surging into him.
Finally, giving power away to others, knowing that as they are emptied out, the Higher Powers will keep filling them with even greater power to be given away.
There is no consensus among Native Americans or outside observers regarding the definition of power, but the general view seems to be that power comes initially from a supernatural source or sources, and that it is best described as an astounding and electric like energy that pervades the universe. Power is present everywhere, in ever varying degrees in everything. This power exists in everything so that it can justifiably be said that each of us is, in a sense, part of this power. Fools Crow expressed the idea that it was his belief in this power, which he recognized as an entity, that made his communication more effective. In order to prepare for receiving and using the power, he performed a simple, yet powerful, prayer/ceremony.
With his eyes closed, he began to pull with both hands at his chest and abdomen as if he were pulling out evil, negative things or stumbling blocks. He grabbed many handfuls, and threw away what he had gathered.
He clutched at the air above him, where he seized unseen things in his head and body.
Finally, he started to pull invisible things out of his chest and body, holding both hands side by side in front of him and threw what he was clutching out into an invisible audience.
As he sang a "sound song" to the Higher Powers, he became like a clean new hollow bone.
He prepared for any spiritual or healing act by this simple ceremony. He taught that the cleaner the bone, the more powerful the healing. Medicine People do what they do for their community and nation. "We are called to become hollow bones for our people, and anyone else we can help. We are not supposed to seek power for our personal use and honor. What we bones really become is the pipeline that connects Wakan
Tanka, the helpers and the community together. This tells us the direction our curing and healing work must follow, and establishes the kind of life we must
live. We have to be strong and committed, otherwise we will get very little spiritual power and will probably give up the curing and healing work. The lessons we are taught by our human teachers, as Stirrup was for me, stressed that the traditional way of performing a ritual is more important than curing someone. Curing a single individual is only important in terms of what this teaches the entire community. This community must continue to know that Wakan
Tanka, and the Helpers are always with it, and that it need no be afraid.
Seeing a person healed gives them this assurance, and it gives the community strength to carry on in the face of distress and disasters. So the Medicine Person sits at the center of every important thing that goes on in their community and nation, and when power is set in motion and distributed, it brings us more and even greater power. We emphasize that prevention is more important than treatment where the community and individuals are concerned. Getting ready in advance may not prevent our being hurt, but it keeps us from being destroyed. It is unfortunate, but our people have begun to forget this, and they are paying a tragic price for it. They get knocked down and they do not have the strength or the way to get up."
In summary, Fools Crow was taught that while we are each given natural power at birth, we are also surrounded by spiritual or supernatural power. This spiritual knowledge includes the knowledge needed to obtain power and to set it in motion. If we wish to go beyond the natural power we were born with, we must entrust ourselves to Wakan
Tanka, Grandmother Earth, and the Spirits of the Four Directions (Helpers) and then call in spiritual power from them. When we have made contact, we can ask them to send to us their individual spiritual powers to be added to our natural powers. We then receive the knowledge we need to understand what we have been given and the directions for changing this power into
The procedure for receiving power is:
Becoming a clean tube for the Higher Powers to work in.
Using focusing tools to walk the Ancient pathways where we will find guidance in ways to achieve goals.
Dispensing this power to others.
As all of this is done, we enter into a special reciprocal relationship with our community. By sharing this power everyone is cared for. "Anyone who is willing to live the life that I have led, can do the things that I can do." If the prophecies are right, making our communities a place of cooperation and communication with the Higher Powers may be critical to our survival.
Fools Crow, by Thomas Mails
Secret Native American Pathways by Thomas Mails.