Shamanism & Native American Articles

For the One Dance: Birthing a Vision - Jeanne White Eagle

By Jeanne White Eagle

Several years ago a Native American medicine man said to me, “If you have had a vision and it’s a true vision, once it begins to take off, all you can do is hold on for dear life.” Little did I know the reality of what this meant. It was in 1995 that I was given a vision for a singing dance, a special kind of ceremonial dance that required those who danced to go without food or water for a period of 48 hours, moving and singing spontaneously with no words. It was to occur within a circular shelter called an arbour, large enough to accommodate some thirty to forty dancers. It was to be supported by a large team of helpers, each team fulfilling a responsibility necessary to support the dancers, leaders of the dance and the rest of the crew.

I said nothing about this vision for seven years. The truth was that I could not imagine anyone wanting to show up for a dance that I had been given a vision for. Nor could I imagine people singing for long time periods, continuously with few spaces to rest and sleep. I myself have been trained professionally as a classical performer and understand firsthand the skill and strength it takes to sing for hours at a time. I could not, however, see how the same requirement could be made of someone with little or no training, particularly as much as two or more days … with the added factors of movement and fasting. With these limitations I put upon myself, I said nothing about the vision I had been given.

And so, for seven years the vision gestated. It was in January of 2003, when visiting the same medicine man, a friend and mentor, that I let the words spill from my mouth. “I’ve been given a vision for a singing dance. I’ve been given every piece of it… except the name.” At which point, my Native friend said, “For the One.” I asked, “For the One” what? He said “For the One” Dance. That is the name of your dance.” And then he said, it was time.


Who said, “there is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come?” In April of that same year, in North Carolina in the United States the first dance occurred. I was astounded. There were people from around the world who came. There were 13 dancers and a crew of some 35 people. What I didn’t learn until later was that the number “13” in Hebrew carries the vibration of “one.” This was taught to us by the Israelis who were there. After this dance we began to notice that the majority of dances, even to this day, had 13 people, 13 countries represented, or multiples of 13 dancers in the arbors. In Israel, for example, the first dance had 26 dancers. In South Africa, the first dance there had persons from 13 different countries.

At this first dance in North Carolina, some extraordinary things happened…A circular rainbow appeared in the sky with a hawk flying through its center, and we were told later of a Hopi prophecy describing this very thing … Appearing on the large people’s drum was a heart, shaped the size of a dinner plate, created from the cornmeal and tobacco that carried the prayers of the drummers … A stone split in the center of one of the ceremonial fires, also forming the perfect shape of a heart, etc. There were more incidences, all of which confirmed for those present that something sacred and extraordinary was occurring here.

What happened in the dances that followed over the next months and years, at times defied the imagination. We noticed that people whose cultures had been in conflict for centuries began moving through the barriers that had separated them for hundreds of years. We were constantly in awe of the wonders that took place … to experience the healing of a German and Israeli Jew during a dance in Germany, only to witness in that exact moment a miraculous rainbow form immediately outside an arbour … to be with a young person, who was badly abused throughout his young life, at the moment he made a major breakthrough as he released that which had limited and held him back for most of his years … to see another rainbow form from the center of an arbour in South Africa during one of the dances … to constantly receive confirmation of something wonderful happening as flocks of birds flew in unusual numbers and patterns across an arbor… to experience the physical healings that continue to take place … to see the amazing courage of those who think they cannot live on one moment longer and then find that not only can they move through and beyond that moment of expected death, but they awaken to the fullness of their own possibilities, their innate wisdom and unlimitedness that lie deep within them. To be a part of transformation at this level is a gift I cherish as I would a new born child, for each time, someone shifts and awakens… and in each of those moments the world finds hope again.


And so, what happens if you are one who has had a true vision or a dream that asks you to reach beyond yourself as you are in that moment? Do you have the courage to say “yes?”

Speaking as one who didn’t believe in myself enough to say “yes,” immediately, I have deep empathy (and sympathy) for anyone who hasn’t yet stepped off this proverbial cliff. What I can say is that once you do say “yes,” fully, completely, with all your heart and soul, something happens that causes circumstances to line up in direct support of your vision and allows the vision to fulfill itself.

This is not to say there may not be challenges along the way. There certainly have been more than a few on my journey. But in retrospect, when I look back to see what those challenges were, however painful at the time, these were the very experiences that helped me expand beyond my own “stuckness,” my own perceived limitations. These situations that often brought tears and confusion were what helped to catapult me into a more awakened state so that I could see into possibilities I couldn’t have imagined before these, what I call, “stretch times.”

I do not believe, however, one has to go through pain and hardship to come to an awakened state. It does seem, though, that I myself made such choices at some deeper level to help me on my way. I would like to think I’m doing it differently now, choosing joy, listening with more awareness, and having greater faith in a loving Universe.


Now, I find a new vision has been given to me, one that is also a global vision. It actually comes from a seed planted in a recurring dream had in my youth. Recently, as of this writing, this dream has appeared once again. Do I have the courage to say “yes,” aware that there are unknowns and hurdles that seem monumental at this time? The truth is, absolutely. I understand now, that when such a seed has been planted into the consciousness, the only thing I have to do is say “yes.” The Universe takes over from there. My job then is to stay aware and follow the “cosmic breadcrumbs” presented in the moment. “All the rest,” as an old friend once told me, “becomes a lark.”

Have you had a dream? A vision? Say “yes.” There was a reason this was given to you. It is a gift. One that the world has been waiting for, for a very long time.

And once you have said “yes,” once the miracle of your dream’s manifestation begins to unfold before you, I’m wondering if you will arrive at the same place I have. My hope is that you will. Where is that exactly? Where have I arrived, having traveled this journey these many years? If you will allow me, I would like to share with you.

It’s pretty simple but something I didn’t have the wisdom to recognize in the beginning. It has to do with Love. Yep! Love.

Is it possible that all else, including our visions, are simply “stage props” to support us in this play we call Life…the stage props of tradition as found in religion and other belief systems, stage props we create through our daily dramas, etc.?

When the “For the One” Dance had been going for a number of years, I awoke one morning with this clear insight, “Maybe it isn’t about the dance at all, but how we treat each other as we create the experience”…

Maybe it isn’t about Life at all, or your vision, or your dream, but rather how you and those with you treat each other as you create the experience. Are you being kind? Patient? Are you listening? Are you staying in integrity and with care? Maybe the teaching that has come down through the ages of “Love one another” is the reason we are here. And all else are “props” to support our remembering this.

If, in your own journey, you say “yes” and you come to the fulfillment of the dreams and visions you have been given, you may also come to this place of realization. That in the final analysis, it’s about how we treat each other. It’s about Love.

© 2010. All rights reserved

About the author / more information

Jeanne White Eagle (Jeanne Lane Pehrson), an educator and futurist with Cherokee roots, is author of two books , her newest being Eyes Open- Looking for the Twelve: Blueprint for a New World, and co-author of two books on conflict resolution. She is a founding member of the international musical “Up With People,” founder of UP on the Mountain, an organization for teens at risk and is the Visionary for the FOR THE ONE DANCE whose purpose is to help remove walls of separation and promote global healing. While in the business arena, she was awarded the prestigious Willis Harman Award by the World Business Academy. Jeanne is an accomplished composer and classical singer and has used her abilities with Sound and Movement along with her skills in deep Conflict Resolution techniques to follow a vision that has taken her and her husband John Pehrson around the world, often into war zones and other areas of conflict, where they have been greeted as Ambassadors for Worldwide Peace. (In 2009, a biography of Jeanne and John was released, called Journey for the One by Monty Joynes.)

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