This was a very powerful inspiration for us all, just when we had begun to gather for our Mountain Blessing Ceremony, in coordination with Chief Arvol Lookinghorse’s World Peace and Prayer Day.

The ceremony went well, with 14 people standing, one by one, on the top of a flat rock facing the river, raising a brightly-beaded staff to the 4 directions, praying silently or out-loud, giving thanks for all of our blessings, including the miraculous late spring rains that caused streams which we saw amazingly flowing from springs at the top of the mountain after a long, hard drought.

Then the large Medicine Drum drum was brought out, with 5 drummers, and singers gathered.  After others began, I shared a few songs on the drum, including the rousing song of the American Indian Movement.  Then my friend’s partner joined in with some Bear songs:  Waaay-lo Way-lo Way-lo-way, Waaay-lo Way-lo Way-lo-way, Awh! Awh! Awh! Way-lo-way, Yah hay yo.

Several folks from a neighboring tribe who also reveres the Mountain shared their prayers with us, including two women with traditional woven, beautifully patterned basket hats and maple-bark skirts.  One woman offered everyone bottles of acorn water and shared her stories of fighting against herbicide spray, first used as a defoliant in Vietnam, that caused much illness in local communities..

After this most powerful time on the top of the mountain, we drove back to a cool forest grove beneath big young pine trees that had been planted after a clearcut many years ago, and had survived last summer’s fires well.  As is traditional after all ceremonies, we shared pot-luck food together and talked of times to come.  Especially in our minds was the Forest Service Look-out that had burned to the ground in the fires last year, hoping that it could be rebuilt, helping us to be continue to be aware and work together when wildfire danger approaches – just like we did last summer with the fires, and just as we did that day in ceremony.  Two local Forest Service people were with us on this day.

p.s.   This relationship between rattlesnakes and mountains is even in the language.
K’a’a is rock.  ‘Awu is mountain.  K’a’a + ‘Awu = K’awu, the word for rattlesnakes, to be found under rocks on mountains.
Thus, Rattlesnake Mountain is K’awu ‘Awu.

My friend and I are the same age.  We have been close for the last 20 years, and knew each other 20 years before that when I spent two years camping in the Wilderness here with a few friends and ponies.  His offer to help grow medicinal cannabis on the land where I live is what enabled it to be purchased.   Over 100 years ago, his great-grandmother used to walk through where I live to see her sister a few miles down river.

I believe that being embedded in ancient culture like this is what enabled me to be shown the miracle of The Osprey’s Path.
Now, we are helping to form a team that will learn how best to honor it à help those who showed it to us, and who are continually reminding us to follow through.  Rattlesnakes and Ospreys are showing us that there are alliances to create with unseen Wise Ones that will benefit all of us.

— Robert Brothers