Day 64

Exodus 14

The famous parting of the Red Sea. If I were really interested, I’d go look up all the names of the cities/places the Bible mentions to try and determine if they were actually talking about the Red Sea or a “Sea of Reeds,” which would be a possible translation or spelling or whatever. I am currently not interested.

The point is, the Egyptians get their panties in a bunch and decide to send their army after the Israelites. Quite frankly I have no idea why someone would decide to send their army onto a sea bed when the sea is only being held aside by the power of the person you are chasing but these Egyptians are a pretty dense bunch. A few bricks short of a pyramid, so to speak.

Israelites escape, Egyptians leave, and nothing bad ever happened to the Jews again. (cringe)

But what I really want to talk about today is…


Thunder Dreamer

I bought my first firearm. The NRA should be contacting me any time now.

It is a thing of beauty: a 1950-something bolt-action 12-gauge shotgun. It looks like something you’d find in a post-apocalyptic setting and between the age and size has this very crude brutality about it. Simple, crude, but elegant in its own way. I have this tendency of falling for things/ideas based mostly upon their novelty. This is so aesthetically novel to me that I couldn’t help but love it. I cleaned it out for the first time and paid as much attention as I could to the details.

My friend told me that he “couldn’t wait to see her,” and after reading that I felt like it needed a name. With the bolt being such a crucial and identifying part of the gun, I wanted to name it after some sort of thunder god. I was looking for a female name, but there are few female thunder gods in mythology, at least few that a quick Google search could turn up.

(This is a great example of my Moose medicine in action; I’ve told this story twice already and I want to tell it several more times.)

So then on the advice of my brother I started looking up female names from the 30’s and 50’s. No such luck; nothing jumped out at me. So I told my brother about the “thunder god” idea, and we went back to a list. He pointed to one that was Lakota in origin: Haokah.

I looked at the article on Wikipedia and learned about Heyoka (or Haokah, or Heyókȟa). You’re welcome to read the article for yourself here, but I will tell you that it is perfect. The name applies to a set of joking, contrary holy men or medicine men that use humor and satire to teach lessons, to show people that which is not easily shown, and to bring humility and laughter even (or especially) in dire circumstances.

I saw a video while researching the heyoka that purported to tell how to find out if you are a heyoka. I did not watch it. Another video featuring a man named Chief Walking Bear has an explanation of a heyoka “initiation” or test. I don’t think I’m even remotely qualified, and I do not have the arrogance to proclaim myself one of these special teachers. I do however share some of the qualities they possess, and I love the concept. Now that I have a term for such a thing as a “sacred clown,” I really enjoy the thought of that. It especially made me think of the trickster mask I made long ago, and the jester mask I purchased. I have always liked trickster gods.

Anyway, Chief Walking Bear talks about being struck by lightning, how he saw it wrap around his ankles as he ran, and the explosion from the lightning flipped him end over end and landed him right back on his feet. If I get struck by lightning this weekend, I’ll come back and tell you all about it. They are predicting rain…

But seriously. The other half of the Wikipedia article talks about Heyoka as the name of a spirit. He is a hunting spirit, and a spirit of thunder and lightning. This quote from Black Elk struck me like lightning, and I knew I had the name I was looking for:

“When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the West, it comes with terror like a thunder storm; but when the storm of vision has passed, the world is greener and happier; for wherever the truth of vision comes upon the world, it is like a rain. The world, you see, is happier after the terror of the storm… you have noticed that truth comes into this world with two faces. One is sad with suffering, and the other laughs; but it is the same face, laughing or weeping… as lightning illuminates the dark, for it is the power of lightning that heyokas have.”

— Black Elk

Read the article; do your own research. To me, the idea of an unconventional hunting spirit of thunder suits this new gun perfectly. Plus, I wanted to find something American, and the Lakota language/mythology is excellent, having been in this land for God knows how long before white people showed up. Also, I’m pretty sure the Lakota make flutes similar to the one I have. Not to be disrespectful, but I seem to have a theme going.

I’ll be taking Thunder Dreamer with me on my camping trip. I can’t wait.

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