Black Elk introduces us to the “Circle of Life” perspective on time, space, and being, which is common to many primal religions. In this essay I will discuss this religious worldview and describe its understanding and perceptions of reality. Contrast it to the more linear time, space, and being concepts of modern cultural religions. Lastly, I will compare Black Elk’s ideas with the Christian view of nature and purpose of Creation.
This is the quote from Black Elk, Ogala Sioux Holy Man, “You have noticed that everything and Indian does is in a circle and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round…Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle. The nation’s hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children.”
The Circle of Life has many different meanings for everyone. The circle of life begins when we are born into the world. When we are born there is a connection to family. Our life continues in circles and our children are taught in circles. I know that we all are familiar with the saying, what goes around, will come back around. Whatever we do to a person will sooner or later come back in a circle. In the Word of God it states, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked for whatsoever a man soweth, that he shall also reap.” (Galatians 6:7 NIV) So we must remember whatever we do in life whether good or bad will come back in a circle.
According to our lecture notes, “the world is biocentric and all living flora and fauna is considered part of a unified spiritual family in which all life, including humans, live harmoniously.” (Hopfe, 2005) In the primal world humans are not considered the focus of creation and or not superior or given a high position to the rest of creation. (Hopfe, 2005)
In this text we are introduced to how the Indian culture perceives things in life. First and foremost they look at everything in a circle or to be round. For example the earth is round or it forms a circular motion, and is shaped like a ball. The wind is shaped as a circle because it blows around and whirls, the moon is round, even the season’s change on a year round basis. Everything that the Indians look at is in a circular motion.
The Oglala Sioux concepts will never change; they always will go on a common bison hunt, the bison hunts are one of their most effective ways of living simply because they do not only use the bison for eating purposes but for other ways as well. Example they use the hides, bones, and other material for everyday living.
Black Elk’s ideas on the Christian viewpoint of nature and creation describe birds, and how they lay their eggs in a nest that is circle, and how everything is repeated in a circle. The purpose of creation is to ensure that everything is in a circular motion, and in a human standpoint we birth our children in the same way to a certain degree. From how we birth our children, raise our children, and see our children do the same thing for their children like we did them. Everything is repeated, even though the day in age changes everything is constantly on a repeat.
In this essay I explained to you on how Black Elk perceived life to be in a circular motion, and the way of living from the Sioux Indians all the way unto how we look at everything, no matter what race, ethnicity or creed, everything is performed in a circular motion. The only thing that may change is the date and time, and everything else remains the same.
Hopfe, L. M. (2005). Religions of the world (9
Life Application Study Bible (NIV). (1997) Wheaton , IL. Tyndale House Publishers.