When we make a commitment to do ceremonial Dance it is for at least four years in the case of a Sun/Moon Dance, and six years for a Drum Dance. There is preparation to be made before we enter the Arbor, in terms of time, money, materials but most of all we prepare our minds and bodies.
We are asked to make prayer ties, the number depends upon the Chief and sometimes it is a few and other it is quite a lot, but no matter, it is part of our preparation. As we sit and pray in the days before, we have an opportunity to allow gratitude to enter our hearts. I usually start out with my family members, I pray for each one and as I do, I think of them and all the things I love about them. I say prayers to ease their struggles and ask for blessings for them in every way. Then the circle widens to include friends and other loved ones and even wider to include all the two legged, the four legged, the winged ones, the creepy crawly ones, the swimming ones, the trees, the plants and Mother Earth.
In this simple act of preparation, making my prayer ties for the Dance, I give myself time to connect with Great Spirit. There is time to gain some clarity for myself on why I Dance. What I love the most is that I get re-focused on what is important in my life, I can sit and listen knowing that soon I will be in the Arbor making that effort and Dancing for myself and For All My Relations!
This image was taken before a Sun/Moon Dance in Italy where our prayer ties created our Arbor!