Child to the Universe

 

 

 

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Bringing in the Fire
Child to the Universe
Dance into Manhood
Naming Ceremony
New House Dedication
Peace Pipe Ceremony
Song of the Pleiades
Sunrise Ceremony
Thanks to Mother Earth
Thunder Ceremony

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By Julia M. Seton

Introducing the Child to the Universe

The Omaha have a ceremony which is paralleled in some form among most Indian tribes. It is that of introducing the newborn child to the Cosmos. 

Alice C. Fletcher has described this as follows: 

"This ritual was a supplication to the powers of the heavens, the air, and the earth for the safety of the child from birth to old age. In it, the life of the infant is pictured as about to travel a rugged road stretching over four hills, marking the stages of infancy, youth, manhood, and old age. 

"The ceremony which finds oral expression in this ritual voices in no uncertain manner the Omaha belief in man's relation to the visible powers of the heavens and in the interdependence of all forms of life. . . . It expresses the emotions of the human soul, touched with the love of offspring, alone with the might of nature, and companioned only by the living creatures whose friendliness must be sought if life is to be secure on its journey." (27th Ann. Rep., Bur. Eth., p. 115) 

This ceremony takes place when the child is eight days old. At the appointed time, the priest is sent for. When he arrives, he takes his place at the door of the tent in which the child lies, and raising his right hand to the sky, palm outward, he intones the following in a loud, ringing voice: 

Priest  

"Ho! Ye Sun, Moon, Stars, all ye that move in the heavens, 
I bid you hear me!" 

Group  

"Into your midst has come a new life. 
Consent ye, I implore! 
Make its path smooth, that it may reach the brow of the first hill!" 

Priest  

"Ho! Ye Winds, Clouds, Rain, Mist, all ye that move in the air, 
I bid you hear me!" 

Group  

"Into your midst has come a new life. 
Consent ye, I implore! 
Make its path smooth, that it may reach the brow of the second hill!" 

Priest  

"Ho! Ye Hills, Valleys, Rivers, Lakes, Trees, Grasses, all ye of the earth 
I bid you hear me!" 

Group  

"Into your midst has come a new life. 
Consent ye, I implore! 
Make its path smooth, that it may reach the brow of the third hill!" 

Priest  

"Ho! Ye Birds, great and small, that fly in the air, 
Ho! Ye Animals, great and small, that dwell in the forest, 
Ho! Ye Insects that creep among the grasses and burrow in the ground, 
I bid you hear me!" 

Group  

"Into your midst has come a new life. 
Consent ye, I implore! 
Make its path smooth, that it may reach the brow of the fourth hill!" 

Priest  

"Ho! All ye of the heavens, all ye of the air, all ye of the earth: 
I bid you all to hear me!" 

Group  

"Into your midst has come a new life. 
Consent ye, consent ye all, I implore! 
Make its path smooth--then shall it travel beyond the four hills!" 

When moccasins were made for a little baby, a small hole was cut in the sole of one, so that "if a messenger from the spirit world should come and say to the child, 'I have come for you,' the child could answer, I cannot go on a journey; my moccasins are worn out.' The new (whole) moccasins put on the child at the close of the ceremony of introducing it into the tribe (when it is about four years old), constitute an assurance that it is prepared for the journey of life, and that the journey will be a long one."  

Native

 

 

   

 

 


Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Bringing in the Fire ] [ Child to the Universe ] Dance into Manhood ] Naming Ceremony ] New House Dedication ] Peace Pipe Ceremony ] Song of the Pleiades ] Sunrise Ceremony ] Thanks to Mother Earth ] Thunder Ceremony ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Native Skills ] Totem Poles ] Indian Sign Language ] Indian Ceremonies ] Indian Dance ] Indian Songs ] Birch Bark Dances ] Birch Bark Songs ] Birch Bark Plays ] Indian Games for Boys ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.