Because he was absolutely unrelenting, because his challenge was to save the last free lives in North America, because he killed more marauding white men than any other Indian, because his battle tactics are still admired at West Point, I began an intensive study of Crazy Horse many years ago. I learned that his name in Lakota means something more like "enchants the horses of his enemies".
Crazy Horse became the leader of the Oglalas but he was never a chief. He had an even higher honor. He was a member of the Shirt-Wearer society, an honorary group of the men of greatest character. He had no official authority over his people. He had the utmost moral authority. His people followed him freely, they were not commanded.
A few years ago, I drove out to the Taos summer writers conference. I was promoting my novel, hoping to meet women, and returning to a state I dearly love. One day, while walking from the conference center to my room at the hotel, I heard thunder. I looked up into a clear, cerulean sky. There was one tiny wisp of a cloud above the mountains. I marveled that such a bare tuft of cloud could make such a loud peal of thunder.
Suddenly, an image appeared above the mountains. A huge lightning bolt, with an open circle at the top, hung in the sky. It shone like burnished coppery brass. A second peal of thunder issued and the image vanished. I was fascinated by what I had just seen but New Mexico is famous for its Chartres-blue skies and for visions appearing in them.
The next day, as I was walking about, I spotted a woman gardener. From behind and alongside, she had the fabulous, tight, busty body of a twenty-something but when I saw her lovely face, I knew she was in her sixties. She was gorgeous and I was anxious to make her acquaintance. I saw that she was having trouble with a spigot so I made my move. As I approached to help, I said, "Hi. I'm with the writers—"
"I know who you are," she said quickly. "You are the man who honors Crazy Horse."
I was startled but my hero's name was encoded in my personalized license plate—although no one had ever decoded it previously. When I drew close to her, I saw the scars on her arm. She saw me notice.
"Those are from the Sun Dance," she said gravely. "I am an Oglala medicine woman. I am not supposed to work here today but since you have something to tell me, I knew I had to come."
I grinned. "I would like to take you to my room. You are so beautiful."
She laughed then her eyes grew serious. "I am here to tell you what it means. I cannot do that until you tell me."
Now I was intrigued. Of course, I still wanted to seduce her but this had gone beyond a very smart woman deciphering my tag. I had not spoken to anyone of the image in the sky. So, as I unscrewed the hose from the spigot, I told her exactly what I had seen.
"Damn!" she exclaimed. "I am Oglala. I am a medicine woman. I know the customs and traditions of my people. I know the old stories. I practice the rituals and keep the heritage alive. I have never received a message from the other side. You are a white man! But the Thunder Beings spoke to you! Damn!"
She hung her head and walked away from me. Not facing me, she said, "Your vision was sent by Crazy Horse. He made me come to work today so I could tell you what he wants you to know."
I was astounded. When she turned to face me, there was a look of respect in her eyes. "Do you know the prophecy of Black Elk?"
"Since you honor Crazy Horse, you know that the lightning bolt and the hailstone were his medicine."
I nodded. "And the rock he wore on his ear."
"Yes," she said. "His medicine in the vision means that it comes from him. But the reason he sent the vision was because you are in this sacred place. Behind you is the tallest mountain, beneath you is the deepest aquifer. These things have great power. You are here because you have great power. Crazy Horse says you are in Black Elk's fifth generation. Your writing has great power. Your writing will change the world. You are a spirit warrior like Crazy Horse. You have the heart of a Shirt-Wearer. Crazy Horse honors you. You will never forget his vision. You will use it to give you strength when your battle with the world seems lost. When you come to die, Crazy Horse will welcome you to his camp."
I was stunned. She walked away to tend flowers. I walked out into the desert and waited for moonrise. I ate supper in the bar, which was devoid of desirable women, then returned to my drab room. I resumed work on a manuscript, a spirit warrior joining the battle.
Causes Michael Warren Supports