Inspired by Diné Medicine Man, Dan Chee
by Anthony Colombo – editing by Mary Beth Cronin
Copyright © 2001 Anthony Colombo
There we were driving on a dirt road in the middle of the Navajo (Diné) reservation. Three white guys and our Diné friend, Cayce Boone, on our way to meet with Cayce’s Grandfather, Dan Chee.
Off in the distance we see a man riding his horse at a brisk gallop. He keeps pace with our van, and closely behind him follows a second horse with no rider on it. We look carefully at the horseman as Cayce poses the question, “Could that be Grandfather?” Mike answers, “I doubt it. That can’t be a 90-year-old man. Look how fast he’s going.”
The rider and the horses disappear from our view behind a ridge and then reappear closer to us at the top of the ridge. Cayce laughs gleefully, “It is Grandfather.”
Grandfather lifts his hand and motions for us to pull off the road. He dismounts his horse, walks up to greet Cayce and begins to speak in the Diné language. Cayce learns that Grandfather has been conducting healing ceremonies for the last two days and has not even stopped for sleep.
Boundless energy and unwavering devotion to his responsibilities as a medicine man; this is how Grandfather earned the deep respect of his people. It was our respect and love for him that repeatedly brought us hundreds of miles to be in his presence and receive any lessons that he felt we were ready for.
We proceeded to step out of the van and sit in a circle with him by the side of the road. Then he tells Cayce to translate the following question to us, “Why did you come here?” My answer was that I came to learn, and to do whatever he would ask of me. Then I said that everything he predicted since the Beauty Way ceremony had come true.
It was about ten years ago that we participated in the Beauty Way ceremony together. The ceremony was to unite and protect us in beauty during the delicate task of documenting Grandfather’s teachings. Documentation was a break from the oral tradition, but it was approved by a council of elders. Furthermore, Grandfather had visions thirty years ago of someone coming forward to document him. For many years he did not trust the vision. Then one day his grandson, a photographer, made a request to document him, he recognized Cayce as the one in his vision.
Before the Beauty Way ceremony, Grandfather said to Cayce, “From what you are telling me, your camera has a crystal (prism) in it. And the light path is through the crystal on to the film where the truth is written. I work with crystals, the light path, and the truth as well. There are many prayers for working with these things. When you point your camera, do you have a prayer for it?”
Grandfather always challenged us to think. Once he told us, “You come here to document me, but what really matters is that you will learn about yourself.” And learning was exactly what was in store for me on this day as I sat there glancing occasionally into Grandfather’s piercing eyes.
After I told him that what he predicted since the ceremony had came true, I handed him a Leatherman tool. He smiled and said, “The other day, I lost my knife and now you give me this.” Then I handed him a very special piece of high-tech glass, LightPath’s GRADIUM. GRADIUM bends and focuses light like no other glass in the world. He held the glass to the sun and moved it around while observing the rainbow pattern it made on the ground. He put the glass in his pocket and said, “what you have here is more powerful than you know and you need to be very careful with these things.”
Then he asked for a dollar bill and said, “Since you give me this glass now, I will tell you … When your people came to this land they realized some important truths, and so they wouldn’t forget those truths, they put them on their most important thing.” he points to the dollar bill. “This symbol here,” his finger moves over the eagle clutching the arrows and the olive branch, “represents truths given to the white man by Native Americans. These truths (for us) are a prayer that the eagle sends. It comes from the earth.”
Since hearing those words from Grandfather, I began an in-depth research into the meaning of the symbols on the Great Seal of the dollar bill and at the same time I researched the role that Native Americans had in the formation of the United States. What I discovered was incredible. The Native Americans, particularly the Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee) played an integral role in defining the basic principles on which this country and our constitution are based.
Of course, our history books do not mention that the Iroquois nations had a profound affect on our forefathers’ approach to governance, or even more taboo, the affect they had on our forefathers’ notions of spirituality. History is written in the blood of those that would tell the truth. In other words, the truths and worldviews represented by conquered cultures are quickly distorted or erased amidst the dominant culture’s motives.
Fortunately, there are historians who make a commendable effort to step out of their culture bias and recount the past from a more balanced perspective. If you’re interested in a very commendable and extensively researched explanation of the Iroquois’ role in shaping the United States, see the free online version of the book “Forgotten Founders” by Bruce E. Johansen. Also check out the vast amount research that Professor Johansen’s compiled in “Native American Political Systems and the Evolution of Democracy”. To hear Iroquois nation elders speak about their own history, see the video “Native Americans – The Nations of the Northeast”
The symbol of the Eagle that Grandfather pointed to on the Great Seal was similar to the symbol that united the Iroquois Confederacy in peace. However, the eagle on the Iroquois symbol was clutching 6 arrows instead of thirteen on the Great Seal.
For many Native American tribes, the eagle is a messenger to the Great Spirit. Grandfather said that the eagle on the Great Seal represents a prayer that comes from the earth. The eagle delivers the prayer; it embodies Native American spirituality. “…and this symbol here,” Grandfather’s finger moves over the pyramid, “represents truths your people brought with them to this land. Your modern technology comes from the pyramid and the glass you gave me sits here on top of the pyramid.” He points to the eye on top of the pyramid in the capstone.
Certainly pyramids exemplify one of the highest technical achievements existing at the beginnings of western technology. So it makes sense that Grandfather would say that our technology comes from there. Grandfather said that the GRADIUM glass I gave him was at the pyramid’s transparent capstone. In the capstone there is an eye surrounded in rays of the light path – which is profoundly sacred and central to Diné spiritual practices. There was something very important about that capstone, and I felt the need to research it thoroughly.
If you research the meaning of the symbols on the Great Seal yourself, you’ll find a wide variety of interpretations. (for one interpretation see greatseal.com) These symbols are often tied to Freemasons, especially since many of our forefathers were Freemasons, and the pyramid is most definitely a symbol used by the Freemasons.
The Freemasons are linked to the Egyptians in their heritage of building structures and in the content and lineage of their religion. The following is an excerpt from an online essay by Thomas Paine, “Origins of Free-Masonry”
“To come then at once to the point, Masonry (as I shall show from the customs, ceremonies, hieroglyphics, and chronology of Masonry) is derived and is the remains of the religion of the ancient Druids; who, like the Magi of Persia and the Priests of Heliopolis in Egypt, were Priests of the Sun. They paid worship to this great luminary, as the great visible agent of a great invisible first cause whom they styled.”
As far as religious lineage is concerned, Freemasonry comes directly from Druidic practices which originate primarily from the Hindu culture (see “The Druids” ) Hindus, in-turn, are linked directly to the Egyptians. All of these religions are centered on astrology/astronomy and our connection with the light from the heavens, as evident from the Druid’s Stonehenge and the Masonic Temples. In addition, the three wise men that bestowed gifts to Jesus, the Magi of Persia from the Hindu culture, were often referred to as astrologers (note the word “Magic” is derived from the Magi.). The illumination and the light are central to all these religions. Even Christ was called the “light” – the “sun” of God.
There on the pyramid of the Great Seal were several thousands of years of western religious and technological heritage. The pyramid together with the shining “eye of providence” took it even further, it conveyed that our spiritual vision is inextricably linked to this technology.
Then Grandfather proceeded to blow my worldview wide open. He points to the pyramid and says “One day your technology will reveal…” he points to the eagle “…the spirituality that you have forgotten.” He folds the dollar bill in half so that the pyramid and the eagle were touching. Then, he hands the folded dollar back to me and says, “but it will cost you.”
I asked, “cost, what will it…” I stopped myself before finishing the question, since I knew somehow it was inappropriate to ask, and Cayce, as if reading my thoughts, said, “It will cost you. Leave it at that.”
I was given a very powerful message, one that I needed to think upon deeply. “Your technology will reveal the spirituality you have forgotten, but it will cost you.”
We sat there in amazement and looked at the symbols on the dollar bill, while Grandfather looked at us. I flipped the bill over and Grandfather pointed to George Washington and said, “Maybe that man knew more than you think he knew.”
What did that man and his countrymen have in mind for our future. What secrets did they share with the Six Tribes, who, like most tribes throughout the Americas, were awaiting a New World – a 5th World. Grandfather told us, “We knew that when the pale beings came to our land that they would either mark the beginning of a new world of peace or the beginning of suffering. It turned out to be the beginning of suffering, but one day the true pale beings will come.”
I believe that the vision that our forefathers shared with Native Americans bares little resemblance to the chaotic and violent world we have today. What the founders had in mind was for an entirely more peaceful and enlightened existence.
Some people would argue that our forefathers were vastly different from the Native Americans. The natives couldn’t possibly have anything in common with a bunch of hierarchical, ungrateful, white patriarchs bringing slavery, disease, war and death. That’s one perspective. However, its helpful to remember that societies, at a seminal point in their formation, will codify significant social and ethical improvements. For example, the warring tribes of the Six nations formed a peaceful and lasting participatory republic – the Iroquois Confederacy.
Like the creation of the Iroquois Confederacy our founders were trying to change their world of discord and tyranny to one full of harmony and peace. To aid them in their endeavors they had the Iroquois who had already accomplished the task some seven hundred years prior. Furthermore, the Iroquois also believed in a larger 5th World of peace where the confederacy, in a sense, would encompass all tribes. Where all tribes of the world, including the white people, would peacefully coexist with each other and the earth.
Our forefathers also brought with them their own positive mythologies. Some of that mythology comes from the “enlightenment” movement of their time. However, I believe that the deeper, more spiritual aspects of their mythology have been removed or altered by history; especially any positive moral or spiritual associations with pagan people like Masons-Druids and for that matter also the Native Americans.
Today we have another chance to create a better world that is closer to what our ancestors had in mind. It so happens again that we have the Native Americans to help us. We can acknowledge their mythology of the 5th World while also showing how it mirrors our own. For example, the vision of the 5th World foretells the beginnings of a future of unity and peace where the tribes reunite, like the colors of a rainbow, unique yet together. In a similar way America opened itself up to the people of many cultures. However, one would question whether the initial intent was to create a “melting pot.”
Instead of a melting pot, perhaps their initial intent is better symbolized by the Hopi’s “Whirling Rainbow of the 5th World.” The different cultures (colors of the rainbow) are whirling (interacting and changing) yet keeping their individuality. Having lots of diversity and interactions in an ecosystem is a natural expression of well-being and the same can be said about diversity and interactions of cultures. In addition to overall social well-being, diversity of human culture is also essential for the earth, because each bioregion on the earth requires unique human customs and activities to sustain and regenerate local resources. In other words, Inuit (Eskimos) don’t need McDonalds. No one needs it.
I have shown earlier that the light is a central spiritual element throughout many cultures. The light is synonymous with perceiving truth and finding salvation. What truths will be revealed to us through our western scientific path?
Indeed, our science is proving that the universe is a teeming and wondrous place – where energy such as light(electromagnetism) acts like life-giving blood as it passes through the semi-permeable membranes of atmospheres and magnetospheres. Even our earth itself, which is still cooling from its fiery beginnings, lives within another essential membrane, the heliosphere — “the sphere of the sun” — that protects and provides energy to all the planets.
Consider that Grandfather said, “Your technology will reveal the spirituality you have forgotten, but it will cost you.” What spirituality have we forgotten? Could it be that our ancestors were tuned in like human light path antennas – intimately connected to universal and quantum energies in a capacity that our modern science is only now beginning to touch? Is this loss of our inherent connection part of the ongoing cost of “revealing the spirituality” through technology?
Technological advancement is not the only human activity that has come at a cost. From the dawn of our species we have engaged in costly activities, such as hunting and harvesting. Other than our impacts on the earth being significantly higher today, there is something else that is different. Today we have largely forgotten our sense of respect and gratitude for the sacrifices that all our relations make so that we may live our modern lives. Indigenous peoples understood and acknowledged these sacrifices, as evidenced through their daily activities and their prayers, myths and songs. This is likely a key reason why Grandfather asked, “Do you have a prayer for it?”
What are we learning by sacrificing so much in the name of scientific advancement while forgetting to express our thanks? Are we continuing to destroy our world so that we can amass enough scientific evidence to prove unquestionably that having a healthy world is paramount to our immediate existence?
Through all this destruction, science is also revealing the wondrous, interconnected nature of our existence. We no longer have to separate science from spirit. When we unify the two, we will stop unconsciously destroying our world with technology. We will acknowledge that the greatest technology comes from nature. I believe the unification of science and spirit will catalyze a paradigm shift into a whole new world. A world where we go beyond merely surviving to begin truly thriving, similar to how it was foretold in the 5th World prophecy.
I realize that the energy and technology that allow us to share information over the Internet come at a great cost to the earth and her people. I also realize that some of our relations must die so others may live. So I’d like to say thank you to the earth for her sacrifices, and for this opportunity to share with you.
I’d like to give thanks to my brother Cayce for the many wonderful experiences and truths that we shared. Finally, I’d like to say thank you to Grandfather, Dan Chee. To this day my understanding, respect and awe of you and your medicine continues to grow and reveal new truths in me.
Ahéhee’ (Thank You).
In memory of Dan Chee – 1998