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World Peace & Prayer Day

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Date(s) - 21/06/2037 - 22/06/2037
4:00 am - 10:00 pm


World Peace and Prayer Day is an initiative begun in 1996 by Lakota sacred pipe-keeper, Arvol Looking Horse (left), resulting from a vision that came to him following the birth of Miracle, a White Buffalo Calf, which was seen as the fulfilment of ancient prophecies handed down among the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples. The idea is as simple as can be: at any time during daylight hours on the longest day of the year, June 21st, go to one of the sacred places of our ancestors, stand and face each of the four directions in turn and pray for peace. This is done at the beginning of most BDO group ceremonies when, beginning in the East, one of us goes around our sacred circle saying, “May there be peace in the East … May there be peace in the South … May there be peace in the West … May there be peace in the North … ” and then, returning to the East, spreading our arms wide, we all say, “May there peace throughout all the worlds.” The idea is to make prayers for peace and to re-kindle our links with ancestral sacred sites.

Back in 1996, having heard of the birth of the White Buffalo Calf (right) and of Arvol Looking Horse’s call for a global prayer for peace, Greywolf hosted a ceremony among the sacred stones of Avebury in Wiltshire with around 200 people. One of those taking part was a young Lakota man who had flown over from the Pine Ridge Reservation following a vision of a White Horse which had come to him during a vision quest on the sacred mountain of Bear Butte. He had been given a spirit song and told to bring it to our ceremony, where he sang it in the midst of our circle.

Thinking about all this, Greywolf felt that, as White Buffalo Calf Woman came to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples long ago to bring them the seven sacred ceremonies, so our British ancestors were visited long ago by White Horse Woman, who brought sacred ceremonies to them. By reconnecting with White Horse Woman, we may be blessed once again by her wisdom. Various names for her have come down to us through the years, including the old Celtic name, Rigantona, meaning Great Queen, from which derives Rhiannon, the Horse goddess who appears in the Mabinogion, and the Morrigan, the great battle and fertility goddess of pagan Ireland. The chalk downs around Avebury are incised with many images of her, the most famous being the Uffington White Horse (above), while some stones within the West Kennett Avenue seem to have been selected because, viewed by people processing along the Avenue, they resemble Horse’s heads. A large leg-bone of a Horse was found in the bottom of one of the post-holes at the Sanctuary, the group of sacred circles at the opposite end of the Avenue from the Avebury Henge.

We continue to support the World Peace and Prayer Day initiative, and urge all members and friends of the BDO to make prayers for peace to the four directions on June 21st each year, knowing that tens of thousands of others are doing the same all around the world.