Bear MedicineWalker, LoreKeeper
Story of the Spirit Lands
Many lifetimes ago lived a young warrior whose bride died on the eve of their wedding ceremony. Her death left a deep hole in this great warrior and the young man inconsolable. He was unable to eat or sleep. He didn't want to hunt pr participate with the tribe. You could find him simply sitting at the grave of his bride.
On a particular day he overheard some elders speaking about the path to the spirit world. He carefully listened and memorized the directions to the most minute detail. He had heard that the spirit world was far to the south, so immediately he headed out on his journey. Several weeks passed and he still saw no change to the earths ground to indicate that the spirit world was near.
Finally he walked from the edge of the forest and saw the most beautiful plain he had ever seen. In the distance was a small structure where an ancient Shaman lived who was a gate keeper to the realms. The Warrior approached the Shaman asking for directions. The old Shaman knew exactly who this young Warrior was and whom he sought. He knew that his bride had passed by only a day before and in order to follow her, the Warrior would have to leave his body behind and walk forward in his spirit form. The spirit world itself could only be reached by crossing a large lake by canoes waiting on this shore. However, the old Shaman warned him not to speak to his bride until they were both safely on the island of the spirits.
Soon the Shaman recited some ancient chants and the Warrior felt his spirit leave his earthly form. Now walking in spirit form, sitting along the shore sat a birch bark canoe that waited for their passage. Not a stone's throw away was his bride, entering her own canoe. As he made his way across the water and looked at her, he saw that she duplicated his every stroke. Why didn't they travel together? And the Shaman's voice could be heard echoing across the waters, "A soul can only enter the spirit world alone and be judged upon on their own life's choices."
Midway through the journey, a great storm rose on the great lake. It tossed and churned in a way the young Warrior had never seen. Some of the spirits in canoes could be seen being swept away by the storm. Their lives proving them to be unworthy of the Spirit Land. Since both the young Warrior and his bride were good people, they made it through the storms violence easily and soon the water calmed and rested and looked like glass beneath a brightly lit sky.
The Spirit Land is a beautiful place where it is always blooming with vibrant colored flowers and cloudless skies, never too warm or too cold. The young Warrior reached out to his bride on the shore gently taking her hand in his. They had not walked ten steps together when Creator quietly spoke to them. He told them that the young Warrior must return as he came, for it was not his time to be at the Spirit Lands yet. He was instructed to carefully trace his steps back to his body, step back into it and then return homelands. He listened to Creator's words walking back towards his home. He did so joyfully and in his lifetime became a great chief, holding in his heart that he would see his bride once again and they would reunite in the Spirit Lands when time was to be.