Category Archives: Philosophy

The power of menstruation: Native American Moon time ritual



The Power of menstruation: Native American Moon time ritual

Hello all!

Man and woman looking at the moon

Caspar David Friedrich-Man and Woman looking at the moon

Pretty sure some of you saw the title of this post and were like: “hmmm ok, what is she talking about?” or “ewwww not reading this”. Well hang in there for a sec! It will be interesting I promise! So yes this post is about a woman’s time of the month. The power of menstruation. But from a Native perspective. Within the native culture, women’s periods are called being in one’s moon time. Referring to the monthly moon cycle. So let’s look at what that all means and the beauty that was seen in that time of the month. A beauty we have somewhat lost in the modern world.

What is moon time?

So yes, the moon time is the time of the month the woman gets her periods and it does refer to the cycle of the moon. In most Native cultures, it is considered to be a sacred time. A time of purification, of inner purification. And as a woman, I can say I understand that. In one’s moon time, there is a sense of being purified, of getting rid of some sort of energy or negativity. Moon time for a woman would be considered a ceremony in itself. It would represent the power of birth. The power of life. Hence why women in the Native culture are often called lifegivers. And that’s one hell of a gift to have! When our ancestors were alive, men would literally leave women alone (who could go in a moon lodge) as they feared their power at that time of the month! As though we turned into witches for a week 😉

moon woman

What is the story of the moon?

So why go with the cycle of the moon? Why call it moon time? Well I will relate a version of a story that I once heard. As you know, within the Native culture, natural elements are our relations. We have Father Sky, Mother Earth, Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon. Therefore, in this case, the story involves Grandmother Moon.

So a long time ago, women were considered powerful in that they held in a lot of their family emotions, their joy and happiness but also their sadness and sorrow. They were the life-force of the family. However, sometimes that would become exhausting. As taking in all the emotions and heartache would be tiring. However, the Creator had created the woman to take on the burdens of the family.

So one day, the woman went to nature to try to find help and yelled out because the burden was too much. The Raven heard her and went to see her, asking her why she was crying. The woman stated she was overwhelmed with the burdens of her family. She added loving her family but not being able to take everything in anymore. Raven said that he understood her pain, as he felt it too and went to ask Grandmother Ocean for help. Grandmother Ocean offered to wash away the pain of the women who would come to her but that she could not help those farther away. So she went to ask for help from her sister Grandmother Moon.Moon

So Grandmother Moon said that she represented the feminine power and would send the waters of Grandmother Ocean into the women so her power would reach them. Once every moon cycle, Grandmother Ocean shall come into the women and purify them. And she did just that. Every month, there is thus a time when the women embody the power of Grandmother Moon and are cleansed by the waters of Grandmother Ocean.

I don’t know about you but this story makes my moon time seems more tolerable than it is! It makes me see things from a different perspective. One in which great power comes into me and every woman, and a cleansing takes place.



 

So what should a woman do and not do in her moon time?

Good question. According to some, this is a time of inward purification. A time of prayer, of actually asking the moon for guidance and assistance. And as this is a time of purification, women have to be careful not to take in negativity. Not taking in negativity from others around them, not taking in their burdens. And well, that is easier said than done. But it needs to be. Grandmother Moon is there for guidance. Tonight, I will actually go sit outside with the moon.

Further, it is very important that women in their moon time do NOT participate in ceremonies. Including touching or handling any sacred objects such as pipes or medicine. Menstruation signifies the power of birth, ceremonies often signify a spiritual rebirth. The two do not mix. Ceremonies are also about creating outward energy while moon time is about inner prayer. A lot of ceremonies also involve the sun, while moon time obviously involve the moon. Thus moving in a different direction than the rest of the participants.

moon

And thus why I could not attend the sweat I was scheduled to attend today. As it would have been disruptive and a lack of respect for everyone else. And as I just discussed earlier, women tend to take in the energy of others. One can only imagine what one would pick up in a sweat lodge when in her moon time. I am already very sensitive to others and pick up of lot from others. So staying away from the sweat lodge, which has the shape of a womb and represents a spiritual rebirth, was the right decision. I was disappointed not to go but going was never an option. There will be other sweats.

Hope you enjoyed reading about moon time and the story of Grandmother Moon. Had you heard about any of this before? Let me know below!

 

 

 

 

Native American sweetgrass: its meaning and use

Native American sweetgrass: its meaning and use

Hello all!

If you follow my site’s Facebook page, you know I am currently doing course 3 of my program entitled Aboriginal focusing oriented therapy and complex trauma. Today was day 2 of 3 and our teacher was kind enough to bring us sweetgrass she grows. Therefore, we all braided our sweetgrass during our break 🙂 So this inspired me to write a short post on sweetgrass, its use and meaning. Here we go!

sweetgrass

What does sweetgrass represent?

Sweetgrass is one of the main herbs used by Native people. It is often part of the medicine used when smudging along with sage and cedar (for more on smudging, see this post). Just as sage is used to clear negativity, to cleanse, sweetgrass is used to bring positivity. At the healing circle I attend, we often start the circle by smudging using sage. As circles tend to be heavy (lots of trauma is shared), if we use sweetgrass, we use it at the end of the circle. To cleanse ourselves again and to bring back positivity and calm.

Therefore, sweetgrass represents positivity, strength, connection to the Creator and all our relations. it represents the Mother, our mother, Mother Earth. It is our connection to the land, to what is around us. Its smell when burned dry is a sweet smell, reminiscent of our ancestors. When fresh, its smell is one of grass (a faint one). It smells fresh, it smells like comfort and home. When braided, sweetgrass can represent a few different concepts. In the Cree-Ojibway culture, for example, the three braids of the sweetgrass can represent love, peace and harmony or mind, body and spirit.

fresh and braided sweetgrass

fresh and braided sweetgrass

The uses of sweetgrass

As I just mentioned, sweetgrass is used in smudging, to cleanse and purify. Native American sweetgrass is a healing herb, it has healing properties. For example, sweetgrass can be used to help with colds, or sinus issues. It can be drank as a tea or infusion to help with coughing (God knows I should drink some as I have been coughing for 2 weeks now). For more on herbal remedies see this post. One could also gargle with it (the tea I mean, not a branch of sweetgrass…).

Further, sweetgrass is a blood thinner as it contains coumarin, which has blood thinning properties. Finally, sweetgrass can also help with arthritis. Indeed, one can carry fresh sweetgrass in their clothes, like in their socks for example, to help with movement (my teacher often does that).

sweetgrass

sweetgrass I received and braided today

I will share with you my teacher’s experience with sweetgrass as I know she would not mind. She has been growing her own sweetgrass for close to 50 years now. The one in the picture on the right is some she brought it today. She constantly has sweetgrass inside her clothes, like her bra or shoes, to help with arthritis. Well, one day, as she was crossing the border (between Canada and USA), she forgot she had it in her bra. And of course, it was found. Let’s just say it raised suspicions and she had some explaining to do!

dried sweetgrass

dried braided sweetgrass

Finally, above you will see dried braided sweetgrass that was tied into a circle. This was given to me years ago by an Elder. The sweetgrass was tied with a cloth and shaped into a circle to represent the Medicine wheel. One final note, according to that Elder, sweetgrass is never supposed to be cut with a knife, as metal is not supposed to touch the herb.

What is your experience with sweetgrass? Share below 🙂

All my Relations

Native American health care: where does cultural safety come in?

Native American health care: how is it different?

Hello all!

I was recently asked to write a little something about the concept of “cultural safety” in regard to Indigenous people. At first my thoughts were “what is that?” and “what the heck am I going to write?”. But quickly it became obvious that cultural safety in the health care system referred to a practice of health care appropriate to Native people, respectful of the traditions and sensitive to the history of intergenerational trauma. But let’s not give everything away right now! I am writing this article in continuation to my article about Native American therapy and my article about historical trauma. Let’s see what it means to practice health care in a culturally safe way.

History of the White man looking down

As I discuss in my article on Native American historical trauma, the Native people have a history of power differential with the White men. The Aboriginal ways were not only ridiculed for many years but at some point banned. With colonization and what followed (e.g. residential schools), culture, language and traditions were banned and severe consequences were to follow if one was to even try to celebrate their culture and people. Beautiful regalia that we see today at Pow wows was forbidden. Can you imagine a life without regalia? Without Pow wows or ceremonies? I can’t! native american regalia

But here, we are talking about centuries of the White man looking down on the Indian, denigrating the Indian, trying to control the Indian. Very unfortunate but true. The Native people’s lives were controlled in all their aspects. The colonizing of the Indigenous people led to terror on their part, led to an incredible loss of freedom and power (they could not even vote on policies affecting them!). What followed was significant trauma for numerous generations. Therefore, if we keep that in mind, our health care system and its professionals working with Native people, can certainly reactivate past trauma, as it is felt in the body, the mind and the soul.

Why a reactivation of trauma?

Well, health care professionals are authority figures and Native people could feel that the White way is imposed on them. Within the health care system, there is already a power differential between professional and client. if that professional is White and the client is Aboriginal, then the differential is even more pronounced. What does that lead to? A lack of trust from the Native clients and a shutting down of the clients. Because if one is feeling controlled or feeling oppressed, one will not feel like collaborating.

native american flute

The effects of colonization are long standing and profound as they were felt in subsequent generations and are still felt today. And those effects affect the health of Native American people today. Indeed, long-term consequences such as unhealthy lifestyles leading to poor health, substance abuse or a high suicide (or suicide attempts) rate are all realities of today’s world. And too often the clients are blamed by using denigrating stereotypes such as “the drunk indian”. In a way, for the dominant culture, it is much easier to think in terms of stereotypes than looking at its role in the trauma….

So what is Native American cultural competency or safety?

I would say that cultural competency and safety is letting go of those stereotypes. And meeting the person where they are at (which should really be done with every client). It also means that the health care professional has to be aware and recognize the history of intergenerational trauma within the Native population (if not, one runs the risk of reactivating the trauma). Which translates in understanding that numerous generations are involved in the dynamic presenting itself in front of the healthcare professional.

It means keeping an open mind to different perspectives of a situation, a perspective that might involve acknowledging the patient’s ancestors who are there to guide him or her. At the very least, it means respecting the client’s belief that they are. Respect, it’s all about respect and keeping an open mind. Cultural safety also means to listen, to listen to the patient’s worldview and to work to gain their trust by respecting their ideas and beliefs rather than imposing them. To have an open dialogue about those beliefs, which might include remedies/medicine from Mother Earth and the land, remedies that were used by previous generations. Past generations used so much of what is provided by the land. No synthetic stuff for them. Natural all the way, and far less illnesses. If the Aboriginal client does not feel heard or respected by the health care professional then chances are that treatment compliance will be very low. A lose-lose situation.

indian at wrk magazine

Should “white” health care methods be then eliminated?

In three words: of course not! A division between the two worlds is not what should be the goal. Working together should be the goal. Every human being contributes to this world and many modern practices are influenced by traditional ways of healing. And let’s face it, there are more illnesses in this world, illnesses that our ancestors did not have to face. However, it also means that modern medicine has made tremendous progress over time to cure illnesses that were deadly before.

Therefore, combining Indigenous ways to treat and heal with modern medicine provides a more holistic approach. An approach that attends not only to one’s physical side but also mental, emotional and spiritual sides. A balance of all four sides is what true health is. Remember the Medicine wheel people! We aim to find that balance between our four sides. Respecting the client’s beliefs, inviting an occasion to share treatment with the client’s Medicine medicine wheelman or Elder for example. Working together as a team. Because that is what the Aboriginal culture is about: respect all of our relations. It’s not about one being superior while the other is inferior.

We need to respect the medicine we take from Mother Earth, taking only what is needed and giving back to nature. But respecting others’ way of proceeding and their medicine is also essential. A mutual respect is the highest form of respect. We need to see the approaches as being complementary rather than competing. As we are all one. We are all related and so are our ways. That what I call Native American cultural safety.

medicine man

A Navajo medicine man in ceremonial dress-1904

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are your thoughts? Do you agree? What is cultural safety for you? Would you add anything? Comment below!

Native American therapy

Native American therapy: how can Westerners adjust?

Hello all!

As you might know, I am a mental health professional trained in psychology who has worked in various settings with various populations. I have conducted therapy sessions, assessment and just helped or listened to individuals ranging from children to incarcerated adults. I currently work with individuals who have reached their last resort, oftentimes homeless, mentally ill or presenting with brain injuries or substance abuse issues. My work in jails has taught me to practice my profession in a more culturally sensitive manner. It is also something I have researched in graduate school as well. So this article will focus on some points to consider when offering counseling or therapy to Native American people. Here we go!

The importance of spirituality and the belief system

The importance of spirituality in the life of most Aboriginal people and how the practice of dreamcatchersspirituality is embedded in the Aboriginal lifestyle is something to remember. The Native American belief system is not always linear or rational and thus it requires the therapist to rethink psychotherapy, how help is provided and how one’s worldview is defined. Traditional ceremonies (including peyote ceremonies, fasts and vision quests) can also play a big part in American Indians’ lives.  However, as the world is not a linear world within the Native culture, there is not really a standardized way of rendering therapy (due to variations in experience, skills and abilities). However, there are several principles that one can consider.

Some guiding principles

So if one thinks of the Western world, we live in a very structured world, in which everything has a time limit (especially in therapy sessions). We are supposed to be done when we are supposed to be done, to stick to the schedule at hand and do the same thing all over again the next day. If one thinks of the Native world, especially before the arrival of Europeans, well it was quite different. There was no watch to tell you when to go, no GPS to tell you where to go, no phones so someone could tell you where to go. They had the sun, Father Sky, Mother Earth, nature and the animals to guide them. They relied on their relations. And they got there when they got there. “Indian time” we call it. Well maybe there is something in there that we can learn from.

Meeting the patient where he or she is

This is a principle I would apply to any clients I have to say. Imposing an agenda never works in canyonmy experience. It just leads to frustration on both sides. When working with Native clients, it might mean to be open to looking at the client’s dreams, visions or signs received. Dream interpretation, also used in psychodynamic and analytic therapy, can be so useful. As all our defenses are down when sleeping and things that would normally be blocked from our consciousness come to the surface. It does not mean that things will come to the surface in a very clear way. Some interpretation will certainly be required. The same could be said of visions.

Trance states in non-Western reality

Trance states are present in many traditional ceremonies. They can be induced by repetitive chanting, drumming or rituals for example. I have gone in a trance-like state in a few ceremonies due to the repetitive drumming and chanting. Some might say “a trance like state, are you crazy?”. But when I say, “go in a trance”, I mean a very deeply calm state. Somewhat similar to a meditative state. Images can emerge from those states and the therapist has to have the willingness and ability to interpret them. It also means that the therapist might need to enter in a trance state him or herself to understand the reality of the client in the moment (concept of immediacy: what is going on in the moment). It can actually deepen the therapeutic alliance because it helps the client feel understood and validated.

Inupiat drummers

Time limitations

Western standard 50 minutes sessions might be difficult to follow with Aboriginal clients, especially if ceremonies are involved. Or if states such as trances are entered. Therapist needs time to safely bring the client back to the reality. If you have ever been to a Native ceremony, you know that knowing the exact time it starts at and ends is basically impossible 😉 There will be a start time but you would be very lucky if it actually began at that time….However, within the therapeutic context, you might be in control of when the ceremony begins (unless it is attended somewhere else in the community). But a ceremony is a process. Placing a time limit on it would defeat its purpose.

Ritual and prayer in the therapeutic encounter

Symbolic rituals such as prayer constitute a part of many Native Americans’ life. Therapists must understand and validate those rituals. However, certain rituals, depending on the setting might feel offensive to others in the setting. Like smoking of tobacco or smudging. Nonetheless, therapists must still include those rituals if appropriate, as they can ensure that therapy is effective. It does not mean that the therapist is a medicine person though and should not act in that role. I personally smudge my office every day. The smell of sage is not a smell that everyone likes but we talk about it. I know that clients appreciate it and with the amount of trauma and negativity that is brought in that office, it needs to be cleansed! I also have my own ritual of smudging myself while praying in the morning. I think it is important as a therapist to cleanse yourself, to find ways to do so, as our work can weigh heavy on our shoulders at times.

smudging

The therapeutic use of synchronous events

In the Western culture, synchronous events are often thought of as “chance events” (e.g. coyote crossing in front of one’s car). The therapist must be willing to entertain the idea that the event might not be a coincidence. I personally do not believe in coincidences. And if we think of all our relations, we know that they talk to us, might they be animals, birds or trees. They guide us, like our ancestors. If an eagle is flying above your head, that is no coincidence. To learn more about the symbolism of animals and birds, see my pages here and here.

coyote

So what are your thoughts? Anything you would add or take out? Do you agree with those points?

All my Relations

 

Carl Jung’s collective unconscious and Native Americans

Carl Jung’s collective unconscious and the Native Americans

Hello all!

I have been thinking for the past few days about what I could possibly write about. Nothing came to mind, nothing was inspiring me. Then I remembered a book I read a few years ago, Dancing Between two worlds: Jung and the Native American soul. I remembered its message and how it combined my background in psychodyamic psychology and native spirituality and culture. That book is one of those that changes your life. At least, it changed mine (more to come in a future post about another book that changed my life). But first let’s look at Carl Jung and the notion of the collective unconscious.

Jung and the Native American soul

Carl Jung

Carl Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist who also found a love for analytic psychology and

Carl Jung

Carl Jung

therapy. The beginning of the 20th century in Europe was dominated by the analytic movement, which was first led by Freud (well there were others before him such as Breuer and Charcot but Freud was the most well known one). Carl Jung’s ideas and writing were not always easy to grasp and led to differences in opinion with Freud for example. However, Jung did contribute to the field of personality traits, where his concepts are still used today in personality inventories. One of his main contributions and I think one of the most relevant ones in regard to the Native American culture, was his notion of the collective unconscious. I do not want to bore you with a lengthy explanation of it, because I could go on for a while here…..

But what is the collective unconscious?

We still have to cover some basics so you can understand how it pertains to the native culture and the concept of intergenerational trauma. According to Jung (a brilliant man for sure), there is a collective unconscious shared by members of a species. A collective mind, of experiences we have all shared. Whereas Freud discussed the notion of a personal/individual unconscious (my thoughts or emotions or experiences that I am not fully aware of), Jung argued for the notion that as a species, we share common unconscious experiences or emotions. This collective unconscious is inherited from previous generations (we come into the world already sharing this unconscious) and it contains symbols or concepts (Jung called them archetypes) that we all share. Symbols such as the Great Mother, The Old wise man. In other words, we carry within ourselves experiences from past generations, we come into this world carrying the life of our ancestors.

collective unconscious

The Native American collective unconscious

I don’t know about you but I feel like Jung was certainly right. I mean, I have mentioned before that what we do affects the next seven generations. In other words, I am carrying the history and experiences of the past seven generations. Some will say that it is not fair, that it means I am carrying baggage. But you have to remember that it goes both ways. I am also carrying the beauty, strength and knowledge of the past seven generations. Sometimes it is also about remembering or investigating where we come from, so we know better who we are today.

The history of the Native Americans is sadly filled with trauma and what I would qualify as genocides. Massacres such as Wounded Knee, need to be remembered as they affect the soul of all. Such massacres also affect the land they took place upon. The memory of what happened lives within the Earth. The bodies, the blood lives within the soil. If you think about how Native American culture emphasizes the connection to the Earth, a wound to the Earth is a wound to the people. It is a wound to the earth-connected side we all have, thus a wound to the soul. The feelings and the hurt of those who passed away on the battlefields do not die with them. They remain in each of us. The Land holds our stories, the land will evoke our personal and collective stories, it will remind us of them. As the land is also living. Violence to the people or the land led to the suffering of the following generations, as it is stored in our collective unconscious or psyche.

Intergenerational trauma

So in a sense, the notion of collective unconscious is related to the notion of intergenerational trauma. Where trauma is passed down from one generation to another. But knowledge, ways of survival are also passed down from one generation to the other. As I stated, it is not all negative, there is some positive in storing our ancestors’ story and experiences within ourselves. Jung and the Native American soul talks about how each of our soul is touched by what happened to our ancestors. Sometimes, getting in touch with their experiences is a way to remember who we are. A friend of mine said to me recently “I don’t know where I belong in this world. I don’t belong within our culture today, I don’t belong in the white culture, I don’t know where my place is”. It seems to me like that would be an old feeling, a collective feeling, an unconscious ancestral feeling. Maybe getting in touch with what our body remembers, what the land remembers is the way to go here, to know where we belong.

feathers

Grandmother, and great Mother Earth upon you the people will walk. May they follow the scared path with light, not with the darkness of ignorance. May they always remember their relatives in the four quarters and may they know that they are related to all that moves upon the universe. – Black Elk.

 

 

Native American spirituality vs religion

Native American spirituality vs religion

Hi all!smudging

I am continuing on with the writing of the Red Man, the Cree man who helped me write my last post. I have written a few posts about the history of the Native people (see my history and trauma category on the right) and about the philosophy and spirituality (see category on the right too). I have discussed the influence of the White man and religion on the trauma that was inflicted on the Native people. Because although not always intentionally, trauma was inflicted in the name of religion. Not an easy topic to discuss or read about but it happened. Assimilation was the goal, to take the Indian out of the man. In the name of Christianity, traditions were forbidden, beliefs were ridiculed, and cultures were erased. Or at least, they tried to. So today, let’s look at the concepts of religion and Native American spirituality.

What is the Native fight?

Some would say we are on the war path, fighting a fight we might lose if we do not know who we are fighting against. If we do not know, we will fight ourselves and everyone close to us. Who

Chief Dan George

Chief Dan George

is the enemy then or what is the enemy? Chief Dan George once said: “When you came to this land, we had the land and you had the bible. Now you have the land and we have the bible”. Maybe it is time to wake up and smell the aroma of fear. To remember who we are and in a sense, we were not religious. Native people became “religious” as a military ploy, pretending to believe in a religion so the religious ones would stop killing them. Guess what? Even though we pretended, they still killed us.

Native spirituality vs religion

Religion and the Red Road are diametrically opposed to each other in a few different ways. First of all, let’s clarify something. The Red Road or Native Spirituality is not considered a religion. It is considered a philosophy. The word philosophy is Greek for “a love of wisdom”. We love wisdom wherever it comes from. From the White, Red, Black and Yellow man. Indeed, the concept of the Medicine Wheel dictates that once the attributes of the Red, White, Black and Yellow men are acknowledged, that’s when the medicine wheel is complete and whole. All knowledge is important, from all men.

Religion is a doctrine, a system of thoughts where all thoughts and truth come from a book, the bible let’s say. Religion tends to instill fear in people, the fear of hell, of doing bad, or burning in hell. However, one cannot get to the happy hunting grounds through fear. The Bible tells you to fear, to fear the God who has the power to kill you. Rebelling against God is bringing judgment upon oneself, inviting wrath into one’s life (Romans 13). I don’t know about you but living in that kind of fear does not seem like a very serene way of living.

bible

The Priest and the Elder

The difference that I will describe here is bone chilling and beautiful at the same time. The Beothuk Indians, Indians from the tip of the Canadian East coast, are now extinct. But they gave us this pearl of wisdom to think about.

A priest is sitting with an Elder of the tribe. The priest says: “look at your children, running around, screaming and laughing. You had better take the rod to them or they will one day embarrass you in public. If you spare the child the rod, you do not love them. And secondly you had better give yourself to the land or you will burn in hell”.

Beothuk woman and child

Beothuk woman and child

The Elder’s response, is worth a moment of reflection. I will repeat what he said verbatim, word for word. “First of all, we do not hit our children! We have respect for their dignity. Second of all, we do not believe in this primitive fear that you call hell. You brought that here with you and you can take it back when you leave”.

Sense or nonsense, that is the question. In the name of religion, natural Natives were killed throughout the world. The Crusades, the Inquisition. For some, this might be an occasion to ask themselves, why do I know little about my people but a lot about the Bible? You might know the saying “What belongs to Ceasar, let Ceasar have”. Well, maybe what belongs to Jesus and his people, let Jesus and his people have. The people of the Bible only have respect for their ideas and show a hatred for the truth of anyone else. But the land speaks to you and their land speaks harshly to them. We live in the promised land and maybe we should live like we have heaven here on earth. We have our ancestors around us, we walk on their land, the land of our children. Let us live in peace, joy and love. Let us be who we were meant to be, not who we were made to be.

elder quote

 

All my Relations

 

 

Native American truth and history

Native American truth and history: contribution of the Native man

Hello all!storytelling

Today I want to share the words of someone I will call the Red Man. His vision of the Native American truth and his experience. The Native people have made such contributions to the world, some were never recognized, some were misconstrued. The story might not have been told properly but here I am sharing some raw stuff. Words that come from the personal experience of a Cree man, his words on Native spirituality, on the history and contributions of the Native man.

The concept of truth

I am tired of sitting on the sidelines watching the world pass me by, the world and my life. Over nativethe years, I have learned a very valuable lesson, and the lesson is this. If you want to change, you must change your relationship to the resources available to you. Now you probably think I am talking about the land when I mention the word resources but no I am not talking about land. I am talking about the one resource that is hard for some to find and that is the resource called the truth. The truth will really set you free.

The truth is freedom

Men pray to be free all the time. The shackles and chains of ignorance smudgewere strapped to my history. The fire of truth was taken away and hidden in books that my people had a very difficult time to read. The theoretical spirit of the Red Man got trapped in a book. Do not take the fire away from the Red Man so that in seven generations, it is cold. White Man writes everything down, the Red Man does not. His truth flows with the winds of change. The Red Man is cold today because he does not really appreciate just how much his people contributed to the intellectual consciousness. Self actualization means to know who you are in proportion to the world all around you. When you do not know who you are, you are weakened and unbalanced. It then becomes difficult to get a clear picture of yourself, of your ancestors and of your place in this world. “Indian giver, savage, welfare bum” that’s what I grew up knowing about my Red Indian side, nothing good.

Contributions

The Native people contributed so many good things to this world. Could you imagine an Italian without a tomato? I could not because their culture revolves around it. We gave the Italians the tomato. It took great love and knowledge and understanding to produce the tomato, tomatoes do not grow wild in the bush, they need TLC. We also gave the world corn, chocolate, potatoes, peppers, tobacco. We also gave the world fortified foods such as pemmican; there were pemmican wars for a reason. One pound of pemmican had the nutrients of 10 pounds of meat. It could sustain you for as long as needed. It could be preserved for 10 years!

Pemmican

Pemmican

History, your own history

Your own personal investigation will uncover the Red Man treasure. If you do not know what’s wrong with the world, you do not know your history. Our history is very cryptic but it’s there. Our people contributed much to the history. The Sleeping Giant that is coming to life is how much we have given and how much was taken. It is a cycle that is hard to break. Blood is shed when people fight for land. However, the land will still be there when the last land claim settlement is secured. Until someone takes it away again. Just like our discoveries will be be rediscovered. What came first? That’s a good question. This is not about getting recognition but rather to see how rich our history is, the good that we brought. The good that we can bring to the world.

Investigate yourself to extend to the utmost your knowledge of yourself. To rectify your heart, to regulate your family, to show yourself and the world just how beautiful your natural native self was and is. All races have contributed to the common knowledge, only when we appreciate the attribute of a man can we appreciate the unique race of all human beings. One day we will all share the power, the power to play, to change and to know.

sacred land

All my Relations

 

 

 

Meaning of the Tree of life

The Tree of life: its meaning

Hello all!green field

Some of you might have read my last post regarding a wonderful little book full of insight and wisdom: 365 days of Walking the Red Road. Well today I want to discuss a topic often mentioned and discussed within that book: the connection we have with Mother Earth. You are probably wondering what I mean. Well, if you remember the concept of the medicine wheel and the 7 directions, you remember that 2 of those directions are Mother Earth and Father Sky. Mother Earth is our connection to our past and to life. Let’s say how that is.

What is the Tree of life?

When one reads the book mentioned above, one can read lessons from the Red Road, to be considered inspirations on how to conduct oneself or live one’s life in a respectful way. The concept of the Tree of life is explained in this manner:

The Tree of life represents all that is life, encompassing all that exists upon the planet. When we walk the Red Road, our journey ends under the protection of this tree. It causes the rhythm of the world to continue year after year, and with each cycle, fruit nourishes those who stand under her boughs. The roots dig deep into history. Those dedicated to this energy know the value of all beings, tend to Mother Earth and live an honorable life in honor of the spirit of the ancient Tree.

tree of life

Tree of life by Azriel hell shoppe

What does that mean? I think it relates to the concept of “we are all related” or “Mitakuye Oyasin”. We all come from the land, we come from Mother Earth. If you think of Mother Earth and the Tree of life, the leaves, the fruits nourish the soil we walk on, nourishes us. Its roots are full of history, guided by the spirit of the previous trees. Like the medicine wheel, it represents the cycle of life. Where one leaf or fruit falls, another one begins its growth. Our ancestors used all the medicines provided by the trees and Mother Earth, to heal, get stronger. Everything was provided by Mother Earth.

But it’s more…tree of life

Mother Earth is where we come from and where we go back in the end. The Earth is our mother, is contains the ashes of our ancestors, it is full of wisdom from our ancestors. Chief Seattle, a Suquamish chief, was particularly vocal about Mother Earth and its importance.He famously said We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. Meaning that it is a gift to us all. We live as children of the Earth but the land does not belong to us, we belong to the land. Chief Joseph advocated the equal rights upon earth for all, as she is the mother of all. The respect of the land is a significant value for the Native people. You always respect all your relations, including those in nature. You respect what the land gives you and only take what you need. It is a lesson that was taught to children. As Chief Seattle said:

Teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our own kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children – that the Earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth… This we know, all things are connected like the blood which unites one family.

Therefore, mother Nature, mother Earth is not for us but rather part of us. Mother Earth is the healer, the one who feeds us. She is our mother. I now leave you with a quote from Chief Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux that summarizes things beautifully:

The white man is far too removed from America’s formative processes. The roots of the tree of life have not yet grasped the rock and the soil. But for the Indians, the spirit of the land is still vested. When the Indian has forgotten the music of his forefathers, when the sound of the tom-tom is no more, when the memory of his heroes is no longer told in story, he will be dead.

chief Luther Standing Bear

Chief Luther Standing Bear

All My Relations

 

 

 

Walking the Red Road: 365 days of it, a review

Walking the Red Road: 365 days of it, a review

Hello all!

For those of you following me on Facebook, you might have noticed that I often mention a little walking the red roadbook I have: 365 days of walking the Red Road: the Native American path to leading a spiritual life every day. I just absolutely love that book! What is this book you ask? Well at a glance…

Product: 365 days of Walking the Red Road

Where to buy it: Amazon.ca

Price: 10.82$ CAN

Rating: 5 stars

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Native American love and beauty



Native American love and beauty

Hello to all of you!

I hope you are doing fantastic. 🙂 Although I am tired tonight, I do want to share something that is a tad more personal with you. I want to discuss the concept of beauty and love with a Native twist. What I am sharing below are not universal teachings or a universal philosophy. But rather words that were given to me by a person very close to my heart. A person you will probably get to know through me on this site in the next few weeks. I want to discuss the concept of Native American love. But first let’s start with the concept of true beauty. Why am I sharing all of this? So that you see a small part of life, a small part of the world with the beauty that it has. So that you can see, like me, what native love is. A personal version of it yes but one that we could all benefit from.

kindred souls

 To see true beauty

The words below are not my words but rather words that were given to me. I wish to share them with you as they exemplify a wonderful philosophy.

If on your walk through life you are never introduced to true beauty, you will never recognize it. But once you see true beauty in one person, you have no choice but to see that same beauty in everyone you meet. We are all examples of true beauty.

native couple

Isn’t that beautiful? We are all different examples of true beauty. We all have that beauty in all of us. Someone just needs to see it, as we sometimes cannot see it ourselves. That person saw it in me and I am eternally grateful for it.

Native American concept of love

Ok the same person told me about the Native concept of love. A true love.

There are three main sources of attraction in the love of human beings. Attraction to the spirit, the mind and body. To have mutual attraction of the spirit gives birth to friendship. To have mutual attraction to the mind gives birth to respect. To have mutual attraction to the body gives birth to desire. To have the combination of all three sources of attraction gives birth to a real true love. A Native love 🙂

I do not know about you but I find this to be very beautiful and touching. Love is an abstract concept and in a sense, an individual one. We love differently, we love some people differently than others. To connect with someone on a spiritual level is one of the most profound connections we can have with someone. A connection that transcends the physical world. A very deep connection. When that is combined with a physical connection and a more intellectual and emotional one, well then you have something you should hold on to 🙂 It took me a while to see I had that.

indian love

I want to end with a poem, a very sweet poem that touches me deeply. Those words I could not understand back then but can now see them for what they are. I can now appreciate them and love them for the reassurance they provide. A reassurance I felt myself needing.

Sleep my lovely lady, dream such beautiful dreams. Fulfill your every fantasy, dine with kings and queens.

This is your moment in paradise, enjoy it while you can. This is your moment in paradise.

Walk with dignity and pride for you have nothing to hide. This is your moment in paradise, enjoy it while you can.

For when the sun shines bright I”ll hold you tight and kiss all your pains away.

native poem

All my Relations