“May You Walk in Beauty”, II
As I walk, as I walk
The Universe is walking with me
In beauty it walks before me
In beauty it walks behind me
In beauty it walks below me
In beauty it walks above me
Beauty is one every side
As I walk, I walk with Beauty.
There are aspects to this Navajo prayer which I did not fully draw out in the first post “May You Walk in Beauty” that I would like to draw your attention to today (if for no other reason than to take my mind off the thoughts I posted in the comments to the previous post).
The prayer is about walking the path of the sacred. And the sacred is the form of the Sacred Hoop, here illustrated once again.
As you can see, the form of the prayer is the form of the Sacred Hoop, with its arms radiating outwards into the four directions, so the path is the path of the sacred hoop itself. The “before”, the “behind”, the “below” and the “above” are the fourfold and they are represented in the arms and structure of the sacred hoop or “medicine wheel”, as it’s sometimes called. The path the man or woman walks when they walk in Beauty is the Sacred Hoop, and in walking that path, the man or woman IS the Sacred Hoop. The path, and the man or woman, are one and the same Sacred Hoop. All That Is is the Sacred Hoop, and the man/woman is this same Sacred Hoop walking the path as All That Is walks with them, which is the path of the Sacred Hoop. This path is sometimes referred to as The Good Red Road. Path, Universe, man/woman are one path, one walk. What we call “the heart” is the vital centre or core — the centre of the Sacred Hoop, which is the point of the Sacred Balance. This is meaning of equanimity, which is the state of fulfillment, for there is nothing left out, nothing omitted, nothing to add to or subtract from the above, the below, the behind, and the before. It is complete.
And if you are familiar with Carlos Castaneda’s writings, you will also recognise this path as don Juan’s “path with heart“.
Note that he/she is not walking “in” the Universe as if it were some kind of container. The man/woman who walks the path carries the Universe around with them, and this is how William Blake thought of it too, since the universe, or All That Is, is present equally in all beings — Heaven in a Wild Flower, the Universe in a Grain of Sand, and Eternity in the Hour. So, yes indeed, when you walk, the Universe walks with you. Or, as Krishnamurti put it, “You are the World“.
And that brings me, once again, to Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy and his proposed “cross of reality” which, as you can see, structurally bears a striking resemblance to the Sacred Hoop
The one obvious difference is that Rosenstock’s symbol has not circle, and this is deliberate. Rosenstock, like Heraclitus, did not believe that the soul had any boundaries, or that consciousness was like an island. The cross of reality is intended to demonstrate Cusanus’s principle that God is a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.
In many indigenous cultures of North America, the ideal human being is one who “speaks from the centre of the voice” (as discussed much earlier here), and the centre of the voice is identical with the centre of the Sacred Hoop. To speak from the centre of the voice is to integrate the four directions. And as you can see, this is the form of the Navajo prayer. It is a vocalised mandala which speaks to the desirability of wholeness and attempts to make wholeness effective reality.