Ed McGaa, Eagle Man, is an Oglala Sioux lawyer, writer, and lecturer who has introduced thousands to Native American spirituality and rituals. In this sorely needed work, he presents his ideas on ways to heal our wounded earth using the four elements water, earth, air, and fire as markers. McGaa explains seven Mother Earth ceremonies the peace pipe, the sweat lodge, the giveaway, the vision quest, the making of relatives, the Sioux Sun Dance, and the Spirit-Calling ceremony. His overview of the spiritual character of the Native American gives us a fresh appreciation for Black Elk's vision and the coming of the Sacred Pipe.
The author presents the four commandments from the Great Spirit: (1) respect for Mother Earth, (2) respect for the Great Spirit, (3) respect for our fellow man and woman, and (4) respect for individual freedom (provided that individual freedom does not threaten the tribe or the people or Mother Earth). McGaa ends with an inspiring vision that is very nurturing:
"Our survival is dependent on the realization that Mother Earth is a truly holy being, that all the things in this world are holy and must not be violated, and that we must share and be generous with one another. You may call this thought by whatever fancy words you wish-psychology, theology, sociology, or philosophy-but you must think of Mother Earth as a living being. Think of your fellow men and women as holy people who were put here by the Great Spirit. Think of being related to all things! With this philosophy in mind as we go on with our environmental ecology efforts, our search for spirituality, and our quest for peace, we will be far more successful when we truly understand the Indians' respect for Mother Earth."