Lesbian Sundance


For a decade, there was a Lesbian Sundance ceremony led by Lakota womyn held in the southern Arizona desert for the purpose of honoring the earth.

lost in a meteor shower
cedars shapeshifting all round me
dread and dust cast in a shell
dried sweat and prayers
these skins mean

intimacy in a smudge pot
sage breath of this land
crouched under all these stars
not twinkling
but deep
with an ancient heaviness
prayer purifying all our stories
cut loose to come home
steeped in comfort
female, emotional
beneath fields of asteroids
pouring down

dipper tips
pouring night
over the rounded shoulders
of cedars
at the turtle fire circle
our drum plays us
womyn stepping like horses
round the hoop
prance, together, step, together
our hearts moving slow
with that moon
who fills in her outline
shoals flood her banks
amazons protecting
womyns’ space reclaimed and
the goddesses dancing there
our shadows thrown back
to the night
in flames and smoke
a new world
we say
the pipe’s tobacco offering
prayer ties and old songs, drums
gestures of love for the world
which must continue

alone I sit, tending fire
having built her to high circle
magic of her orange pulse
and our intentions
deep nesting stones into ancestors
who speak
blessings and answers
looking east through
focused heat of questions
fruit-ripe fire
wavering the circle
in process before me
nearing completion
for the ceremony
that begins tomorrow
three sweatlodges
brightly wrapped
and piles of long dead trees
awaiting their turn
at alchemy

how to Be with fire?
to know smoke and ceremony
inner silence
crackle of solitude
and the sudden drum
as voices approach
feeding on a desert distance
this abrupt deliverance
from singularity
humans and spirits
reach the arbor
on the far side of flames
I wait
with smoke and heat
knowing fire
tending towards

high-breasted moon
sun slides to fold
touches her toes
orange light deepening
and Grandma Bea
in the arbor
as ceremony pauses
before the three lodges
to honor a tree
still living
out of place in this
desert and holding
holy cottonwood
tradition places you
in the center

now the cedars are drumming
and singing
in womyn’s voices
in Lakota
in prayers
palpable to all
these mountains
taken beyond eagles
who’ve come
comes now the buffalo
massive white skulls
eyes and nostrils stuffed
with sage
a promise of boundaries
for now
sacred bundles

this morning
feeling the living bird
inside the sweatlodge
as Pacal fanned us
with her wing
singing Cherokee morning
copal sage cedar
pulling prayer from us
osha rising from
central pit of fire
and just there
beside me
a heavy bird
singing too
air and fire glisten
to heal us

comes now the smudge goddess
followed by glorious
fed and rested Dancers
slowly slowly
whooshing to be gone
like that bird
into spirit
they stop first
at the east gate
and turn
70 womyn and kids
most beautiful kids
ever, anywhere
dancing on the edge
of the wedge
of catastrophe

slowly, slowly
they enter the arbor
arms raised to the blue
making love
to the 4 directions
with voices, footsteps
children, cedar smoke
red, white, yellow, black
each flag matched
by a lavender one
stepping the heartbeat
stilling the separate
birds drawn
to the circle
eagles come
all day long
fire burns
loaded with strong
wood, sparks awaken
ancestors’ red
glowing eyes speak
I wait with this fire
long pitchfork in hand
molecules expand
weeping for beauty
enfolds me

days of being this
black lava stones
with holes all
over them
spot-winged nighthawks
ceaseless streams
of womyn’s voices
stories, prayers, keenings
filling a thirsty desert
the stars lean in

all our relations
wept for—
the linear, the
Babylon, gone—
first circles extending
from the heart of one
into the breasts
of each womin
all nations gathered
day after day
in sweatlodges
in each others’ arms
beyond poisons
we reach
shoulders together
in bright t-shirts
soft as only womyn are
and strong
we simmer
towards a unity
that knows our every name
so hot in arizona
in august
we make it
hotter, wilder

so good to have a word
for no words
try to pick up the ocean
with this pitchfork
only run through
tangled in nothingness

journey to the Source
but no rest
dragonflies, hummingbirds
eagles and big red tails
circling to ululu’s
taken into the circle
by Akiba
looking like
Mother Africa
she holds out
the sage wand
I grasp it and
she takes me There
and I am ancient and
boundaries dissolved
no colors
all colors
two hands
letting go
speak to the cottonwood
while Mother
shakes the rattle
connected to ancestors
to protection
to the birds’ air
and fire

we pray there
singly, together
in the center of
visions, dreams, time
as lifetimes
pass us by
like spirit busses
swirling celestial
and fuses
as one we
circles in a spiral
hand in hand
sing to the drum
behind our backs
the dancers dance
bless us and
heal us and
we cannot look at them
for they are
Spirits, not human beings
the feathers that
fan us
whooshing at our backs
are great birds
come to take
all our pain away

wings quicken 
sound of trees growing
tone of hot sun
tuned to endless sky
returning home
filled full
rain coming

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