Grandfather reached over and gently pinched my nose closed. I woke up and, above me, the smoke hole was filled with the Milky Way. He motioned for us to sneak out of the tipi. We did and kept going out of the ambient firelight of the village into the darkness.
Grandmother Moon had unraveled her shawl of light and, now with only the tip of the thread in her fingers, she meditated on the new shawl she would weave. In this way, the new moon allowed the dance of Star People to be fully seen. Grandfather asked me what I understood about Grandmother Moon weaving shawl her over the coming 13 days.
“She will weave the same thing she weaves every moon, Grandfather.” His bright teeth in the dark night indicated a smile. I was curious, maybe perplexed. “Grandfather, why do the People say that she weaves a new shawl each month when it is the same shawl? And what really happens that makes the Moon go dark and then bright again?”
We were on our backs looking up at the stars. It was an evening of the “Star People Shooting Arrows,” as streaks of white flashed across the sky like arrows on fire. He said, “Grandmother Moon is courteous and kind. She weaves her shawl of light so that creatures might see in the dark of the night. This is her kindness. But she is aware that the nightly celebration of light that the Star People dance to the Creator is diminished by the light of her shawl so, in courtesy to them, she unravels it. Then, in kindness to creatures like us, she slowly weaves it again.
“I had an vision once about Grandmother Moon, Father Sun, and Mother Earth,” Grandfather offered. “Sun, Moon, and Earth all danced around each other. Depending on who was in what position, appearances changed. I watched that Grandmother Moon’s phases from slender thread to bowl to full radiant shawl back to bowl and then darkness were created by the position of Mother Earth. Earth Mother blocked some of the light of Father Sun or she stepped out of the way and Grandmother Moon received full light from Sun. In a similar way, I saw that when Father Sun is swallowed during the day that this is also a play of light among the Sky Dancers.”
We lay on our backs with the Star People shooting fire arrows across the sky. The great River of Life, the Milky Way, lulled me to sleep thinking about kindness and courtesy. A dream arose of Grandmother Moon in the rhythmic steps of the Shawl Dance while Father Sun and her daughter Mother Earth slowly looped around her, each in his or her own rhythm. The dream left me with the feeling of a heart beat and the pulse of kindness, and the understanding that the rhythm of kindness weaves the blanket of goodness for all. And in the dream, their dance was a bow to one another in respect and courtesy so that each could contribute his or her light to life.
Grandfather was gently pinching my nose again to silently wake me up. The sun would soon rise and Mother would too. We had to get back.
As we walked I felt a rhythm in my steps and my feet wanted to walk sideways in the Shawl Dance, so, I did. Doing so, my steps were part of the rhythmic weave of oneness with Life.