Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gleanings: The Wisdom of Black Elk

About thirty or so years ago, I first read Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux. I was so impressed with the wisdom found in the book that I then purchased an abridged audio cassette and played it as I was driving from appointment to appointment. Through the years I forgot about Black and his wisdom until about ten days ago when I rediscovered my old, worn copy of the book.

I gleaned much wisdom in the words of Black Elk, just a bit of which I share below:

"The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us." ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

"My friend, I am going to tell you the story of my life, as you wish; and if it were only the story of my life I think I would not tell it; for what is one man that he should make much of his winters, even when they bend him like a heavy snow?" ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

"Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking." ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

"...while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being." ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

“The Holy Land is everywhere” ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

“You have noticed that the truth comes into this world with two faces. One is sad with suffering, and the other laughs; but it is the same face, laughing or weeping. When people are already in despair, maybe the laughing face is better for them; and when they feel too good and are too sure of being safe, maybe the weeping face is better for them to see.” ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux  

“Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that one.” ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux  

"Grown men can learn from very little children for the hearts of little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss." ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

"I think I have told you, but if I have not, you must have understood, that a man who has a vision is not able to use the power of it until after he has performed the vision on earth for the people to see." ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

“Know the Power that is Peace.” ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

"There can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men." ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

“Peace will come to the hearts of men when they realize their oneness with the universe, It is every where.” ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

“Behold this day. It is yours to make.” ~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

Oglala Sioux shaman
Black Elk Speaks, book and play:

Related books:


  1. Wisdom such as his is what we all strive for. Or should.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I remember this book, I read it about 5 yrs or so ago. I need to get this book again. We all want peace and goodness in our lives. Oh how we fall short of it sometimes.

    1. If you decide to purchase it, please consider clicking one of the links to in the past. You'll find the book discounted and I will receive a huge 3% referral award. [:-)

  3. An excellent post, Nick. I especially like “Peace will come to the hearts of men when they realize their oneness with the universe, It is every where.”

    1. I like your choice, Abby. With all of the divisions in out land today, I pray that we shall recognize and accept our oneness with the universe and all that dwell therein.

  4. Thank you for this post. I must read the books.