Jul 31 2020

Navajo Prayer – May it be beautiful

Published by at 9:33 am under Poetry

Navajo Prayer – May it be beautiful
by Navajo (Anonymous)

English version by Gladys A. Reichard

Dark young pine, at the center of the earth originating,
I have made your sacrifice.
Whiteshell, turquoise, abalone beautiful,
Jet beautiful, fool’s gold beautiful, blue pollen beautiful,
Red pollen, pollen beautiful, your sacrifice I have made.
This day your child I have become, I say.

Watch over me.
Hold your hand before me in protection.
Stand guard for me, speak in defense of me.
As I speak for you, speak for me.
      May it be beautiful before me.
      May it be beautiful behind me.
      May it be beautiful below me.
      May it be beautiful above me.
      May it be beautiful all around me.

      I am restored in beauty.
      I am restored in beauty.
      I am restored in beauty.
      I am restored in beauty.

— from The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology), Edited by Ivan M. Granger


/ Image by Russ Seidel /

I have come across several variations of this prayer-poem; they all manage to return me to my feet and bring me into quiet awe of the moment.

This version, with its introductory offering to the pine tree is especially moving to me. According to ethnographic notes, this version of the prayer was evoked during healing ceremonies performed in front of a sacred pine tree. The pine tree here is the pillar of life that stands “at the center of the earth,” the world navel, the center of being. This pine is the mediator between heaven and earth, a bridge or doorway between the two realms. This is a healing ceremony performed at the point where the sacred and the mundane touch. And that is where we witness the beauty that heals.

I love the evocation: “This day your child I have become, I say.” Right relationship is restored. More than restored, it is recognized. The soul uncontracts when it remembers it is the child of something profound, alive, divine… and beautiful.
May you be restored in beauty.


Recommended Books: Navajo (Anonymous)

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) The Essential Mystics: Selections from the World’s Great Wisdom Traditions


Navajo (Anonymous)

US (19th Century) Timeline
Primal/Tribal/Shamanic : American Indian

Attributing this to the 18th century is a guess. The source book did not estimate the date of composition.

Traditionally, the Navajo live in northern Arizona, New Mexico, southern Colorado, and Utah.

More poetry by Navajo (Anonymous)

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Navajo Prayer – May it be beautiful”

  1. Raijaon 01 Aug 2020 at 12:03 am

    Thank you so much dear Ivan for this beautiful Navajo poem and your lovely and wise comment on it.

    Yours Sincerely

    Raija

  2. Beth Urbanon 01 Aug 2020 at 11:28 am

    I skimmed this poem at first , not sure why, and went away.
    Then I re-read it, and found it so profoundly beautiful and moving!
    Thank you for presenting this lovey poem.
    ~Beth

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