Black Elk’s Circle Poem

“Everything the Power of the World does
Is done in a circle. The sky is round,
And I have heard that the earth is round
Like a ball, and so are all the stars.
The wind, in its greatest power, whirls.
Birds make their nest in circles,
For theirs is the same religion as ours.
The sun comes forth and goes down again
In a circle. The moon does the same
And both are round. Even the seasons
Form a great circle in their changing,
And always come back again to where they were.
The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood,
And so it is in everything where The Power moves.”
   — Black Elk, Medicine Man of the Oglala Sioux Nation.*

The circle is one of the principal patterns we find everywhere in Nature.  In the processes of Evolution, however, we also see a pattern of increasing complexity.  A circle that expands over time is called a spiral, and it combines both the cyclicality of a cirle and the direction of outward expansion. 

Another common pattern in Nature is Branching.  The Branching of tree limbs, roots, blood vessels, neural networks in the brain, electronic networks in computers,and river deltas all incorporate branching as a pattern of growth and diversification.  Engineerring studies show that branchings have evolved because they are the most efficienct way to transport energy and/or information across an area or through a volume. 

These and other Natural Patterns are discussed more fully in our three Essays, Patterns of Information – How G>O>D> WorksMathematics and Continuing Creation; and Complexity and Continuing Creation.

  • For a longer version of Black Elk’s Poem, see