Owl Dance

The Creeks and Their Dances (4)

By Ghost Dancer

Ghost Dancer

One big misconception about our traditions is the owl. Many tribes west of the Mississippi  fear the owl as bad medicine (a bad sign). To us the owl is very wise and sees things that others don’t see, has the ability to see into the darkness. Mainly we see the owl as a messenger, a very powerful messenger.

The owl is commonly known as foretelling of someone dying. This scares many but traditionally we natives do not fear death for it is just another part of our cycle, our balance, and we all know we will be reborn and begin a new life and form.

Now those that practice to become seekers of knowledge and spiritual advancement and gifts, welcome the gift of the owl.  Many keep the feathers or an owl’s dried body in their sacred areas. This is so they will know the intentions of any who enter the sacred areas. The owl also is a warning system at night when enemies may try to sneak in to your area. They are always welcome around our towns and villages.

The owl dance is a ceremonial dance. It is not for just everyone, only for those who seek the path of spiritual advancement. The dance is used to call forth the spirit of the owl to come and help the dancer. Dancers are staked to the earth and dance with the sister root, a highly poisonous plant that is used to go quickly to the spirit world, to guard their bodies while they spirit travel. I only tell you this so you understand the position and importance of the owl in our tradition.

A spiritual teacher conducts this ceremony and prepares the special root. A circle is drawn and a wooden stake with a leather thong is placed in the circle. The circle is then sprinkled with the cedar leaves. Poles that have owl feathers and claws are placed in each the four cardinal directions.

The one(s) seeking the medicine of the owl have owl headdress on and owl wings on their shoulders.  Their eyes are painted to look bigger like the owls do. Symbols of the first quarter moon and last quarter moon are painted one on each side of the body . As an owl call is being made the dancer(s) begin dancing around the circle. As they do, the spiritual teacher begins stirring a paste of the special sacred root. After the dancer(s) has completed 4 complete circles, the dancer sits down and the drum begins a very slow, slow heart beat. The spiritual teacher now sings an owl song and begins putting the paste from the special sacred root on the dancer’s temples and then a tiny bit to swallow. He then takes the thong that is tied to the stake and ties it to the wrist of the dancer. This is so the dancer has tie (symbolic cord ) back to the dancer’s body s the dancer’s spirit begins to travel outward. This helps the dancer find the way back.

 the drum beat becomes slower and slower and the owl calls deep into another world. The dancer will feel the true spirit leaving the fleshly body and will see the body sitting there as it hovers momentarily, then it begins to travel where it needs to go. 

Just want you to know the importance of the Owl Dance because it too is a connection to other worlds as well as to this one and it is a balance that must be completed.

© Ghost Dancer 2017

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an 80-something elder, a child of the great depression and WWII. I have lived a good life doing all the ordinary things valued by women of my generation. Through it all, I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, never quite "at home" in any group, but always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. A registered nurse by profession, I am a lifelong student with a love of writing and interests in history and genealogy. In my golden years, just when I was starting to wonder what I was going to do with the rest of my life, some unexpected things happened that led me down new and unfamiliar paths. I’ve since learned it took a lifetime of experiences to prepare me for the new challenges and opportunities to come. The lessons these new challenges bring comprise the magic elixir that keep me seeking, keep me aware, keep me vital.

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