The Thunderbird and Thunder Beings

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... you have noticed that 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… as lightning illuminates the dark, for it is the power of lightning that heyokas have.
—Black Elk, quoted in Neihardt (1959), p160

It started as a sighting that only later took on a great deal of spiritual significance for me.When I saw the Great Bird, I was sure that it was as real as anything I had ever seen. But thinking back on it, I am not sure now if it was a vision in which I entered another space/time dimension or if it really was a part of our own natural world. I don’t know if another person standing next to me on that day would have seen the Great Bird as I saw it.

Several years ago, I was working as a counselor in a family mental health clinic in downtown Toledo. I was taking a break, eating my lunch in the car when I noticed a beautiful storm was forming. I love storms and I got out of my car to enjoy the cloud formation and the thunder and lightening. As I was looking off to the west, I noticed a giant bird flying maybe 500 feet above the downtown buildings. I was stunned since this bird was larger than anything I had ever seen in my life. At the time I lived along the banks of the Maumee River, west of Toledo, and I had a few times seen bald eagles. I was always amazed at their massive size. But this bird was so much bigger.