Friday, April 16, 2010

Crazy Horse Was More A Mystic

Crazy Horse was more a mystic then he was a warrior and if you take the time to note his accomplishments and capabilities on the battlefield then you can begin to appreciate his depth as a mystic.

He is often cited with one of the great miss-quotes in history: “It is a good day to die” but that is not the whole quote and it can only be appreciated for its true meaning in its entirety and if the truth were known probably only in its original tongue. Uttered in this form it seems to venerate bravery and bravado but the quote itself has nothing to do with bravery or warrior-ship or prowess in battle.

It has everything to do with spiritual completion and soulfulness, readiness and acceptance.

To understand this more fully, one just has to look back at the standard North American/European culture and notice that we look at life as though we were on a time line as if it were something that should be considered as being in a straight line.

If this were true, then it follows that the longer the line, the more we imagine (and imagined is the key word here) that we have lived this life to the fullest, and from that thought it naturally extrapolates that the length of the line defines the depth of the understanding and appreciation of life.

Most of us who have been lulled into our dream-like life styles and can now safely assume we are more complete in all facets of our beingness then those of us who have had shorter experiences then us.

This is all based on the concept that length of time in the trenches breeds wisdom.

Not necessarily so.

We mark our mortality or immortality by sneaking up on it, noticing it only when others pass off the face of this planet. It is only then that we can come and face our fears of the unknown, at their funerals, and then it is ever so briefly. And as we do so, attend the funerals and help perform the rites of passage into the next world and almost as an aside, and then only if we are paying close attention to all the asides, do we notice that we can get a glimpse of ourselves and our life’s experiences as it really is and not necessarily in the linear form we imagine it to be.

For instance, the death of the child is seen as tragic. True enough, but in some cultures they have an approach to death tragedy from a different Point Of View, one that is not nearly so linear but rather circular in prospective. To see this more clearly we have to notice the rites of passage ceremonies that Tribal societies all over this planet have. They have ceremonies that mark the rights of passage deliberately. They are initiation rites of completion and the interesting things is they seem nearly universal and that puberty is the event that is seen as that time when they have finally come full circle and moved into a place of completion, thus the celebration of the rites of passage, from incomplete to complete.

It is said that once past this threshold is passed over, the individual’s observation of life is forever changed, life now becomes an experience that is complete in and of itself and will always be complete and growth can now only be the expansion of that circle outwards out into life.

Something like the concentric rings in a millpond after the stone has dropped.

In Native North American society once the circle or hoop is formed, once the ring is complete, then anytime after that is a good time to die because the person will pass in wholeness, in completeness.

So the message that Crazy Horse spoke was not the message the untrained ear heard often credits him with saying. What he was telling his people was not about being brave or to be full of bravado and courage but to be calm and know that all is as it is supposed to be, life is complete in and of itself and whatever transpires next is not in the hands of the individual but it is all in the hands of The Creator.
Thus they went into the battle with the American 7th Calvary trusting in a power far greater then themselves knowing that what ever the outcome it would be right, and those that would pass on that day did so in completeness and those that stayed to live another day did so at the discretion of The Creator. They simply did what was next to be done.

Crazy Horse’s actual quote translates into English follows: “To day is a good day to die for all the things of my life are present."

The key to the quote comes in understanding that from the native prospective, wisdom and wholeness are not seen as a result of the passage of time necessarily; you don’t have to be old to be wise. But rather it is measure by how one lives each moment, in and to the fullness, by how they enter into each moment, with a sense of completeness by walking lightly.

Elders are respected for many reason but from this prospective it is because they not only are the complete in and of themselves but the have allowed their completeness, their hoop to expand and grow and touch others over their time on the face of this planet, they have walked lightly with fullness and are the carriers of the traditions and the history of their people.

So who is prepared to die?

Only he or she who has lived life fully and walked lightly into each of the next moments they have and will experience, because in doing so, they have accepted their completeness as a spiritual being, I am one with all that is, all that was and all that ever will be.

NDT: when I was researching Zen and the Art of Walking Lightly I came across the concept of Crazy Horse being a mystic ...


  1. This is beautiful! The story is too long to tell about how I stumbled onto your blog. But, I think I needed to read it at the time I found it.

    Thank you!


  2. Yeah... I needed to read this just now too. How amazing!!

  3. Crazy how a white guy can interpret Crazy Horse but he cant contribute to the poverty & despair of Crazy Horses People here on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

    -Alf Leftwich

    1. Gee, Alf - Why would you want ANYONE to contribute to the poverty and despair of those people? Don't they have enough already?

  4. Crazy Horse is always an inspiration. There is no need to fear the inevitable, it but a "going to" not a "coming from". Do you know his quote about seeing a time in 7 generations when man will come together etc? i can't find it but would love it to be spread as it and all his words are more relevant now.

  5. Yes ... and I know ... as I was told that comes from Owl Nest ... and a meeting of all the chiefs ... about the time of degradation ... and just how long it would last ... and it is coming to an end... he was a shaman ... now passed ...

  6. also crazy how a whole people can be enslaved for centuries by the idea that they are somehow victims instead of being able to chose and act for themselves.

  7. I come to this page with the anger and despair of someone who believes that today is a good day to die because there is nothing to live for. Not an act of bravery or warrior spirit, but a broken spirit. I looked up the correct quote as this is my nature to get things right but somehow nothing is right. Everything is wrong and the pool of wisdom which you refer to as coming with age is my drowning pool as I look back on my life and see misery. I don't see the ripples, I see the stone sinking to the bottom and disappearing for ever.

  8. I see the bravery. What does one do when one finally understands that THIS is IT. And, moreover, that THIS is A GAME? What does one do when one has played the game, wishes to cash in, and go home? It is possible to know that one is ready to go.

  9. A great man I knew said this in the morning and died that same afternoon .

    Today I shall die , that will make this day a great day , a day to remember by all that know me or knew of me , a day to rejoice knowing all has been known and experienced .

    Intellectual property of R.G.Sorensen

  10. How do you know which book is what...when all the spines are blank? Guess I still need a cover by which to tell a book? ;) Thank you for your (and R.G Sorensen's) perfectly expressed insights on Crazy Horse! (Don't mean to be Anonymous, just don't have those other accounts! LinkedIn: SongPods Inventor)

  11. Thank you. The eighth grade will recite the poem, "The Message of Crazy Horse" at our assemble this Wednesday at the Waldorf School of Garden City, NY. His words live one.

  12. Would you be willing to share your resource for the full quote? I am very curious to know more about its origin and history.

  13. So happy to have found this article as I have allways thought the quote was a beautiful acceptance of passing from this life into the next, acceptance of life as a mystical journey that will never end but change.