Native Americans understand the earth as a living organism that works in synergy with humans on a spiritual plane. Once every year, they pay homage to the earth through a ritual called The Sun Dance.
Part of the Sun Dance is the voluntary contribution of sacrifice men can make. Two cuts are made on each side of the dancer’s chest where wooden pegs are inserted. It acts as a form of paying honour to the spirits that will respond to his sacrifice and support him for his journey through life.
The Sun Dance is enacted by marching for several hours to the four corners of the earth ; north, south, east and west.
During the dance, an array of emotions can rise to the surface, pivoting from fatigue to nausea to elation and triumph.
The ability to keep on dancing whilst reminding oneself of why we’re doing the dance develops a discipline and focus that brings a perfect balance of the mind.
In this photo, tobacco snuff, referred to as Hape is given through the nose. Hape is made from tobacco and other medicinal plants within the Amazon and has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal qualities. Hape is considered a powerful sacred medicine amongst indigenous traditions, used during ceremonies to help bring grounding, balance of the mind and body.
Through this awareness alone, we learn to recognise that nature too motions in the same transient fashion like the the mind and emotions. We’d experience heavy rain, strong winds and the scorching sun in the four days that we danced.
Dancing bare foot upon the earth whilst being immersed in nature with this awareness is heart-rendering and empowering to say the least.