Initiation Song from the Finders Lodge

Please bring strange things. 
Please come bringing new things. 
Let very old things come into your hands. 
Let what you do not know come into your eyes. 
Let desert sand harden your feet. 
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains. 
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps 
and the ways you go be the lines on your palms. 
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing 
and your outbreath be the shining of ice. 
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words. 
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten. 
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel. 
May your soul be at home where there are no houses. 
Walk carefully, well-loved one, 
walk mindfully, well-loved one, 
walk fearlessly, well-loved one. 
Return with us, return to us, 
be always coming home.

“Initiation Song from the Finders Lodge” by Ursula Le Guin,from Always Coming Home. © University of California Press, 1985.

Curator’s note: In Le Guin’s novel Kesh elders sing this song to initiates who have chosen to become the people’s emissaries to “the outside world.”

Ursula Le Guin daughter of Theodoa Kroeber author of Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America.

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