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The Journey To Manhood
A Mythic Interpretation by Ron West, from Napi Mephisto, pages 42-44


Stone Child had lost grandpa to the vagaries of age, but now was instructed by his uncle Na Too Auts, also a Priest of the Sun

Before Stone Child’s birth, his father had returned from Vietnam and disappeared deep into Indian Country for years, returning to his paternal roots

Subsequently, the boy had all his life known ‘Grandpa’, the old Native Priest that had also taught his father, and after Grandpa had died, Stone Child’s adoptive uncle, Na Too Auts, had taken over the boy’s Native education

The boy was home schooled in the simplest basics, the alphabet, phonetic spelling with no rote memory or proper spelling drills, simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and basic fractions and percentages and other than this, the main focus, the real focus, was discovery in the natural world of the wilderness surrounding him, to age ten

Always, he had been told that at this age, ten years, everything having to do with his education would change, and it would “get serious”

Age ten had arrived, Grandpa had been gone for nearly a year, and Na Too Auts came to visit Stone Child

Na too Auts spoke to Stone Child: “Little brother, for the next four years you will be making the journey to Manhood. Today I will give to you one of the great mysteries of life you must understand to make this journey. But first you must tell me the rule attending the sacred teaching”

Stone Child began: “Everything is ceremony, everything that you will show me. And none of it can be repeated outside of ceremony”

Na Too Auts: Where is ceremony?

Stone Child: “Ceremony lives in the hearts and minds of the real people. It is everywhere”

Na Too Auts: “Name the real people closest to you.”

Stone Child: “For me, the Real People are the living Stones. They are the Aspen that surrounds the Stones. Real People are the grasses that cover the open space inside the circle of the aspen grove. It is the Raven who gathers herself on the meadow around the stone inside this aspen circle every fall. These are my real people”

Na Too Auts: “And who are you?”

Stone Child: “I am all of these”

Na Too Auts, quietly: “Very good”

Na Too Auts then asked Stone Child: “Who is Niitssitapi?”

The boy replied: We are Niitssitapi

Na Too Auts: “Yes, this is true. And just what is the precise meaning of Niitssitapi?”

Stone Child: “Human Dignity”

Again the Sun Priest quietly acknowledged the answer with a soft, matter of fact: Very good

The theory of differentiation and the androgynous birth of consciousness in native America.. first ever translation to western terms, the creation of the Trickster, the native Mephisto, knowledge previously only observed by western science as simplistic anthropomorphisms

Na Too Auts began the lesson: “Thunder abducted the wife of the Half Being, Man, her name is Niitssitapi. Man was crying and the other beings noticed. They gathered among themselves and asked, ‘Why is Man so pitiful?’

The sound of his weeping was very disturbing

When Bear explained the cause of Man’s grief, everyone seemed to become afraid.

There was no question Niitssitapi had to be rescued, because until she was returned to Man, everyone’s life was hanging in the balance. But who would go against Thunder?

This question was put to another Half Being, Eagle, who knew the road to, and sometimes shared Thunder’s realm in the sky. These two had consulted together in the past

Eagle said: “It cannot be me, for I am Thunder’s relation. Let it be Raven who corrects my cousin’s wrong”

Raven knew the trail to Thunder’s realm as well, however she would not go there. But Raven stated to Eagle: “I will do it. First you must pass along a message, from me to Thunder, you will be my Runner”

Eagle agreed “This, I am allowed to do”

Raven then stated: “I must go to my lodge, I will not be prepared until the afternoon of the fifth Man Day. Eagle, you must find me then, alone, on the prairie between the meeting place of the Old Man and Lakes Inside Rivers”

These Peoples then dispersed and Raven went home to make ceremony and paint a glyph on a bit of Aspen bark Sak Wo Ma Oui Aki Kwan stood alone on the prairie with her back to the rivers place of coming together. Eagle arrived at the appointed time and circled above, calling out five times “‘EeKiii’: Have you seen Raven?”

The Woman Warrior, her Black, Black hair turned loose in the wind, called back to Eagle: “Look at the feather tied upon the left side of my glory in this wind, for I AM Raven!”

Eagle then landed at the woman’s feet. He said: “Your ceremony is strong. But I will not warn my cousin Thunder”

Raven then gave the painted glyph to Eagle with the warning: “Do not look at this, it would destroy you. When you have delivered it to Thunder, quickly move to the side, before he can have the chance to clearly see it. That is all”

Eagle said nothing, but took off into the sky with the glyph grasped in his talons, his great wings working hard into the climbing circle, until a thermal updraft lifted him high, soaring to a speck and then finally, out of sight

Soon, very soon after Eagle had gone out of view, a great Black Boiling Cloud began forming before Sak Wo Ma Oui Aki Kwan: ‘The Woman Who Stood Alone and Challenged the Enemy’

Thunder’s great rage of wind at this Woman was terrifying to behold, but Raven stood her ground against it. When he came into range, Thunder drew arrows from his quiver and shot them from his bow, the arrows strikes against the ground were deafening and each one missed!

Raven, now a woman, now a bird, woman-bird, woman-bird, enraged Thunder as never before, Thunder repeatedly fired at a woman, but only to see his strikes evaded by a bird that hopped!

Raven, facing Thunder, had hopped forward one hop, to the south, with each arrow Thunder had sent at her. As she hopped farther and farther away from the place where the rivers joined, she felt Ichs Stui approaching from behind her, and Thunder, whose rage was so great, did not notice Ichs Stui’s icy hand took the remaining arrows from Thunder’s quiver and the fight was over. Raven had won. Now they had to sit together, Sak Wo Ma Oui Aki Kwan, Ichs Stui, and Thunder, where the Old Man and Lakes Inside rivers meet, and make the Peace

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