The Tree of Life

Today, my heart is saddened by the loss of a beloved elder–Unci Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance. She was a Lakota elder who believed that prayer was very powerful, and that the old ways of her people should be preserved. She dedicated her life to her people and even in her work would drive hundreds of miles to make sure someone had their medicine. She loved her people. But she loved everyone else too. She prayed for all her relations, the people, the sky, the water, the Sacred Black hills, Mother Earth–everything. She prayed for the next seven generations, that their world would be better, that they would be happy and healthy and have a clean world to live in. She prayed daily for everything and everyone–even you who did not know her. She was a woman of prayer.

When I look at the tree of life, I see it covered in leaves. Each leaf to me represents an Elder who holds the wisdom of balance for this Earth and our lives. The tree is sacred. The elders are sacred. We are sacred. We are the prayer that someone made seven generations back. We are a walking prayer. Someone who did not know us, prayed for us to find balance and happiness.

So on the night of the 18th, Unci Beatrice started her journey home. Her job done. And a leaf from the great tree of Life has just fallen to the forest floor–to return to the Mother that made it. Wado Unci for all you have given me on my journey, and may I be able to help carry that torch that leads us back to balance.


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