In an era when we hear of so many scandals with so-called spiritual "masters" involving ego, power, money and sex, it is refreshing to know there are some leaders who are the REAL THING. Lakota medicine man Frank Fools Crow (1890-1989) was one such master. The following is an excerpt from a book by a Lutheran minister named Thomas Mails entitled "Fools Crow: Wisdom and Power":
Thomas Mails: The great holy man, Black Elk, 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, and the visions and 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.”
As Fools Crow and I discussed the matter of how a person serves the Higher Powers, I asked, “Do you agree with Black Elk that the medicine person is a hole that Wakan-Tanka [God] and the Helpers work through to help people?”
Frank Fools Crow: “We [Black Elk and I] talked about this several times. We agreed that the Higher Powers had taught us this same thing. We are just holes. But as I have used hollow bones for curing, I have decided that it is better to think of medicine people as little hollow bones.”
Thomas Mails: “All medicine persons are hollow bones that Wakan-Tanka, Tunkashila, and the Helpers work through?”
Frank Fools Crow: “In and through. The power comes to us first to make us what we should be, and then flows through us and out to others . . .”
Thomas Mails: “Can anyone become a little hollow bone for Wakan-Tanka to work in and through?”
Frank Fools Crow: “Perhaps not a holy or medicine man, because we are called to that. But everyone can become a bone to serve others . . .”
Thomas Mails: “Where the bone idea is concerned, what is the difference between a holy or medicine person and an ordinary person?”
Frank Fools Crow: “The cleanest bones serve Wakan-Tanka and the Helpers the best, and medicine and holy people work the hardest to become clean. The cleaner the bone, the more water you can pour through it, and the faster it will run. It is this way with us and power, and the holy person is the one who becomes the cleanest of all . . . It is like we have bodies that are covered with holes through which they enter and fill us, and out of which our prayers go up to Them. We are also ready to forego many of the ordinary pleasures of life so that we can become medicine people . . .”
“We are called to become hollow bones for our people and anyone else we can help, and 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 lead. It also keeps us working at things that do not bring us much income . . .”
“The Power that we receive is for curing, healing, prophesying, solving problems, and finding lost people or objects. It is also for spreading love, transforming, and assuring peace and fertility. It is not to give us power over others because the source of power is not ourselves. It comes to us and moves through us as hollow bones, but it belongs to Wakan-Tanka and the Helpers. They are the source, and all thanks should go to Them.”
“The life of a holy person becomes soaked with power. One way to describe it is that we are like filled sponges . . . Our lives are a dance of power, and our people see this, so they honor us. It follows then that we are always in public view, and that our behavior must be the best. I do not argue, do not fight, do not hate, do not gossip, and I have never said a swear word. I have not chased after women, and I have controlled my lust for them. I have never touched a woman patient other than what was necessary to cure or heal them. I have not taken advantage of anyone . . . I have never touched alcohol or drugs; I have not even used peyote like they do in the Native American Church. Wakan-Tanka can take me higher than any drug ever could. Because of these things, and of my spiritual life, people respect me. But the important thing is that I reflect Wakan-Tanka and the Helpers to them. I am not Them, but people see what They are like in me and in the life I have lived. This life has been a very happy and full one. I don’t know how it could have been better. Wakan-Tanka did not tell me to forego the things I just mentioned. I just came to know that I would have a better life without them. One of the reasons why I have had such a hard time trying to find people to pass my medicine on to is that there are so few who want to live morally and frugally. While they talk a lot about wanting to do this, they do not really want to give up pleasure and material things . . .”
Thomas Mails: “Are there any basic rules for students to follow?”
Frank Fools Crow: “To become a clean, hollow bone, you must first live as I have, or if you have not done this already, you must begin to do it. You must love everyone, put others first, be moral, keep your life in order, not do anything criminal, and have a good character.”
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8/27/2019 06:59:38 pm
A spiritual person like you will never be weak. If you ask me, people need to be more entwined with their souls. I know a lot of people who do not even know the concept of spirits, and to me, that is sad news. It may not have any scientific backing to it, but our spirits are the things that help us live life. If you do not want to handle your spirit, then that is okay, I will not judge.
9/24/2020 04:48:15 pm
We are just the phone line. An Indian leader said, “Wakan Tanka, that power is everywhere, and nobody controls it.”
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.