Why seven? I’ve been asked this question about the ancient Iroquois precept that we must be mindful of the consequences of our actions down to the seventh generation beyond ourselves. I don’t recall ever hearing an explanation from my friends of the Six Nations, or seeing one amongst the earliest records of the traditions of the Confederacy.
Spiritt of the Wind carry me home
Spirit of the Wind, carry me home to my soul
Spirit of the heart, carry me home
Spirit of the heart, carry me home to my soul
At the Omega Institute near Rhinebeck, New York, where I’m leading a five-day adventure in Active Dreaming this week, a striking assemblage of metal figures stands on the grass beside the library. You look through the hollow in each to the last, and smallest, figure, which contains an unborn child. This sculpture set was created by the artist Frederick Franck to honor the traditional teaching of the elders of the Six Nations of the Haudenosonee, or Iroquois, that we must be mindful of the consequences of our actions, down to the seventh generation beyond ourselves.
When I meet someone new, I like to ask them if they know what their name means. This is a way of registering the new person’s name in my mind, so it doesn’t slip. It’s also a great conversation starter.