Shaman’s Prayer

by Amalasuntha

I have left my spear outside your cave for nine days and nights and still you do not come to me.  The winter has not turned and the Huntress says that it is all your fault.  The drums to tell the sun to rise again towards the growing time are silent.  I tell Mother that it cannot possibly be the sole fault of one individual, but she is adamant.  I think she is feeling dishonoured and angry from your spiting of my proposal. 

I do not care for the Great Huntress, nor the Old Grey Mare nor all the Herders but for you.  I want you to come back to your mountain cave, make it a warm house and turn away from this foolishness.  The affairs of those who live under the snow are none of ours, they have never helped us, we do not have treaties. 

So I will leave my ram horns offering here to the great ones, clap to draw attention to the ancestors who went back to the snow and hope that you hear my words wherever you have gone.  Come back and be our shaman once again, come back and drum up the growing, come back to me.

 

And I do hear your voice in the night, and my heart breaks to know the words you must soon say.  Please, for my sake, do not be foolish.   Disown me and all I stand for, mourn me as you would those who are taken suddenly by the snow, called to return without notice.  Listen to your Mother and not your heart.  You think what you know of me is enough; there are things I have kept from you beloved.  I have sworn an oath so binding that to disobey would be great foolishness.  I know what you would say, that those beneath the snow are no kin of ours, and you would be right, you would say we have no treaties to compel my assistance, and you would be right also.  Those beneath the snow understand not our ways, they have never come to our aid, they do not even know our beautiful temples exist; they have no synergy, have no Herder and Huntress and are not worth our attention.  I would tell you beloved that they have their own lives and faith and, and, and I realise that you will never hear my words, never understand what I am trying to say.  So beloved I tell them to the wind tonight that it might carry you a message from me.  You know I have been to the lands beneath the snows, spent time there, even though it incurred the wrath of your Mother.  I can hear her now, the great speech she made on my return, forbidding any travel to the lands below in her reign.  A waste, no point, keep to ourselves and do not involve ourselves in their affairs, we are safe here, with our temples and traditions.  We should not incur the wrath of the Great Herd, should not anger the snows and our ancestors by disrespecting them.  I think every word burned itself into my memory that day on the ice steps of the Great Hunt House.  I know you remember it too; you’ve probably searched every reason as to why I would disobey the memory of that day.  I’m sorry, I could tell you nothing beloved, without risking you giving up everything and coming with me, or knowing too much.  It was better you remained in ignorance.  It cracked my heart a little more every morning to see you and know that I must leave, that I would never return to my home once I left, that the possessions I left behind would be offered in sacrifice to appease the ancestors, that my cave would be sealed, that I would never again stroke your black, black hair, kiss your forehead in secret, praise your achievements, carve bone beads as an unexpected gift for you.

All this, myself and my love for my beloved I offer in sacrifice to the task I am faced with.  Ancestors in the snow hear me, I am still faithful to you, you alone know that what is happening will affect not only the lands below the snow, but also your nation.  You know why I do this blasphemy.  I ask not for protection for myself, but for those who are without a shaman through my actions.  Great Herd encircle my nation, Great Ram protect my people, and my beloved and watch constantly for dangers, I ask this for them now more than ever.

Blessed winds carry my messages for my beloved to his ears tonight.  Let him know that I was forced to collect my rimed spear from his cave entrance.  Mother made everyone watch as she broke it, declaring my betrothal melted.  Ancestors gone back to the snow, I want you to know she only broke my spear, not my betrothal promise.  I am still yours beloved.  You will already know what Mother has ordered, your cave is to be emptied and sealed. I disobeyed her orders to leave your things alone, it was a small thing to bully the guard and spend time in your cave.  I want you to know that I rescued some small things, which I will keep for you.  I could not rescue all, as she would know.  I have your ceremonial reins and small painted drum, your favourite beads and bone comb.  How it must have hurt to leave behind these things.  And me.  I only know that it must be something which you believe in beloved, something which you could not tell me, something bigger than our nation, bigger than drumming the growing, bigger than our love.  And so, blessed ancestors I tell you that on the strength of that belief and that alone, I declare myself gone-back-to-the-snow.  I shall leave my daily satchel at the Ramsbridge Curve and chip the edge to make it look like a slide.  Ancestors whisper to my beloved that I will follow him soon.  A couple more nights will see me having all the things I need gathered together.  Great Ram: I have never ventured into the lands below the snow, but my beloved is going there.  Just as you went out into the glacier to search for Emeina, I go too to find my beloved.  Ancestors watch over him and bring us safely together.

Read more about Amalasuntha

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