Medicine Man's Song

by Pima (Anonymous)

English version by George Herzog & Brian Swann


here over you     here over you
there is light
it moves about
here over you
there is light
the tassels
downward

-- from Song of the Sky: Versions of Native American Song-Poems, by Brian Swann

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

My college years in the late 1980s were a time of searching and confusion for me. I attended three different universities in three years, with as many majors, before I dropped out of school and bumped through jobs and life until somehow I stumbled my way into adulthood.

I mention this because one of the schools I attended briefly was the University of Arizona. And while there I first became aware of the Pima people of Arizona.

This medicine song would have been chanted at the completion of a curing ceremony in order to seal its success.

The light here is the power of spirit, life force, drawn into the body and spirit of the ailing person.

The mention of tassels has a special meaning. For many native peoples of the American southwest, corn is not only a fundamental food crop, it is central to the sacred imagery, representing the merging of spirit and earth in the form of growth, life. Corn is the iconic embodiment of spirit/light/life in the earthly realm. The tassels are specifically corn tassels, and they are pointing downward. In the shamanic language of the Pima, this represents the light of spirit and life flowing downward, streaming directly into the person being healed.

A song today affirming healing and life and light...



Recommended Books: Pima (Anonymous)

The Sky Clears: Poetry of the American Indians Song of the Sky: Versions of Native American Song-Poems





Medicine Man's Song