The other day, Peter and me were invited to a Christmas party.
It was nice: friends and acquaintances, good food, laughter and fun. Fun especially, because there were “Christmas party games”
As you know, we are anything but Christians and not very familiar with all the customs of the seasons, so we both drew blanks when it got to a game where one has to recite or even sing one many of the popular Christmas songs.
The only one I knew was Rudolph the red nosed Reindeer – (I HAVE to know that one, 🙂 my paternal Siberian Ancestors were / are Reindeer herders from the north side of the mighty Yenisei river in north-east Tuva.) And of Silent Night I only know and could sing the Cree text…..
Some of our friends were surprised and one of them suggested I should come and sing it like that in his church.
I do not think it is my place, to sing a christian song in a Native American language in a church – after all what the churches did and still do to Native Culture……
The next morning at home I had a bit of a migraine (repercussions for eating the delicious cheese appetizers) and so instead of rushing around, I had to sit still in the semidarkness of dawn– and had time to think.:
How much acculturated am I?
What other X-mas songs do I know?
What are the songs of the Winter Solstice of my own Siberian culture?
My Ada was anything other than a singer, he rather hollered and growled to the stomping rhythm of his large shaman staff witch had rattles and bells attached. A rather frightening ruckus he made with it!
I also do remember the Solstice Chant, that calls the Owl Guardians, asking them for protection through the long icy winter nights. I also remember the trance rhythms we are to drum, when the shaman walks around the village, asking for Blessings and protection and then sits out the long and frigid night up on a snowy windy rock promontory or even atop a tall Tree chanting and praying for everyone in the hamlet. This after all was my great grandmother Ulali’s job.
I also know, that when the Wolves do answer or join into that lonely chant, it is seen as VERY fortuitous for the new solar year.
It is a velvety soft pulling thing/ feeling, when the trance comes in – and takes hold.
Somehow the melody and words of the Huron Carol floated into my mind…..
Then the scenery before my eyes changed.
A wintry night
deep snow, the moon up, full, just before midnight
Ice crystals glistening on all the Spruce Tree branches, bark cracking in -50 below
This is HOME = Siberia…….
entering the clearing filled with more than Moon and Star light…..
and then the words came in
on the melody….
A female Elder’s voice…..
T’was in the Moon of Wintertime
an old Wolf this way came
He had a ragged mangy coat
and on one foot he was lame.
He had a rotten toothless throat
and a stomach full of hunger pain
He knew that Death would be a grace
to an old wreck of his mighty race….
So he walked towards the Morning Star – – –
-and was surprised what he there saw- –
A beautiful glittering Reindeer dame
A Spirit with her antlers aflame
Life Magic from her heart did glow,
Love and mercy in her eyes did show,
She touche him with her sacred hand
to send him off to Never- Land…
But oh– he felt the Magic swell…….
the old Wolf changed to young and well!
His coat aglow in the sparkling snow,
his teeth all trim, feet fast and slim
Deep in his heart the Wolf did know
that never again old and frail he’ll grow
For all time he’ll wander through the night
all lost Souls home her was to guide
Sooo thankful for this Sacred Gift
into the air his snout he lift
and sang the first chant ever done
That on Solstice night
Star Maiden would come
To take away all pain and fear
So you all too live another year
So sing with me the Börü chant
that it will ring across this land….
Much much later, tears streaming down my face, hands still shaking, but migraine gone completely,
I managed to write it down, in 1 uninterrupted “flow-stream”…..
Still tears of thankfulness dripping onto the paper……
They are coming back, as I am sitting here now, typing it.
I know, the song, is based on one of the many E’eren Börü, legends of my Ancestors.
I also know, it is not for me alone, it is given, so I can share it with the community.
It says, “So you all too live another year!”
It is a little like something my Great gran Ulali would bring back from her midwinter night ordeal, to share with the people……
So you all too will live another year!