“In Beauty May I Walk”

Screenshot 2017-08-02 at 4.13.21 PM

A few weeks ago, I posted a poem draft based on the phrase “All is Completed in Beauty.” At the time, I didn’t know the phrase’s source.  Today, as I was going through an old notebook of spiritual direction resources, I came across a copy of “Navajo Blessing Way Prayer.” All is completed in Beauty” is the prayer’s last line.

I wanted to know more about the prayer, so I did a quick internet search. The version I was given (as part of a seminary staff retreat) is slightly different from the version I found at Talking Feather: Lesson Plans About Native American Indians, which contains lines in the Navajo language and can be found here. There, the final line is translated as “My words will be beautiful,” which I think is equally lovely. It resonates with me as a declaration and promise of things to come and as a meta-commentary on language, prayer, and the beauty of one’s self as part of the harmony of all things.

According to Talking Feather, the Blessing Way prayer

can be found in many places,”A one of which is the Museum at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, for the Anasazi. Some say that reading the words bring peace and calm.

The word “Hozho”  in  Dine’  (roughly translated) Concept of Balance and Beauty. Consideration of the nature of the universe, the world, and man, and the nature of time and space, creation, growth, motion, order, control, and the life cycle includes all these other Navajo concepts expressed in terms quite impossible to translate into English. Some Navajos might prefer the term: “Nizhoni” meaning  ‘just beauty.

I’m posting the version I was given below, because it was the one that sparked the sonnet that I wrote, but I recommend reading the Talking Feather version as well. The site itself is full of resources aimed at “correct[ing] some of the misconceptions about American Indians, and instead highlight the educational progress, positive life styles, and giving nature of  both Native and non-Native people  of all cultures” (“About Talking Feather and Indian Tribes”).

Navajo Blessing Way Prayer

In beauty may I walk.

All day long may I walk.

Through the returning seasons may I walk.

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.

With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.

With dew about my feet may I walk.

With Beauty may I walk.

With Beauty before me may I walk.

With Beauty behind me may I walk.

With Beauty above me may I walk.

With Beauty beneath my feet may I walk.

With Beauty all around me may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of Beauty,

Living again may I walk.

All is completed in Beauty.

All is completed in Beauty.

 

(Image credit: David Mosner and “28 Magical Paths Begging to be Walked“)

 

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