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#1769 - Friday, April 16, 2004 - Editor: Gloria
Joe Riley ~ Panhala
Native American Song (An answer to the question: What do I do
when I am lost in the forest?)
The trees ahead
And bushes beside you are not lost
Where you are
Is called Here
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger
Must ask permission to know it
And be known
The forest breathes. Listen.
I have made this place around you
If you leave it,
You may come back again by saying
No two branches are the same to Raven
No two trees are the same to Wren
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you
Then you are truly lost
The forest knows where you are
And you must let it find you.
~ translation by David Wagoner ~
(From The Heart Aroused by David
Whyte; thanks to member Pat Legrand for the corrections.)
Web version: www.panhala.net/Archive/Lost.html
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Viorica Weissman ~ MillionPaths
The greatest men are the humblest. The smallest are the most arrogant. Real sages are always modest, claiming no superiority, and they always put you at your ease. This is because they have silenced the personal self and become as children, allowing That which is behind to manifest.
The Inner Reality Paul Brunton
Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Teton Sioux.
Behold, my brothers, the spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love!
Every seed has awakened and so has all animal life. It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being and we therefore yield to our neighbours, even our animal neighbours, the same right as ourselves, to inhabit this land.
Yet hear me, my people, we have now to deal with another race - small and feeble when our fathers first met them, but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possessions is a disease with them . . . They claim this mother of ours, the earth, for their own, and fence their neighbours away; they deface her with their buildings and their refuse.
They threaten to take [the land] away from us. My brothers, shall we submit, or shall we say to them: "First kill me before you take possession of my Fatherland."
Speech at the Powder River Council, 1877.
Look at me, and look at the earth. Which is the oldest, do you think? The earth, and I was born on it . . . It does not belong to us alone: it was our fathers', and should be our children's after us. http://members.aol.com/pantheism0/indians.htm
[This is part of Chief Seattle's original speech of 1854, as reported by Henry Smith in 1887].
To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground . . . Our dead never forget this beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays . . .
Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as the swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch.
It matters little where we pass the remnant of our days. They will not be many . . . Sad-voiced winds moan in the distance . . . A few more moons, a few more winters, and not one of the descendants of the mighty hosts that once moved over this broad land or lived in happy homes, protected by the Great Spirit, will remain to mourn over the graves of a people once more powerful and hopeful than yours.
But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people? Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come, for even the White Man . . . cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We will see.
Seealth, chief of the Squamish, 1854, as reported by Henry Smith in the Seattle Sunday Star, 1887.
Many Native people (some would say all traditional Natives) object to others incorporating Aboriginal beliefs, practices, rituals, tools, and traditions into their own spiritual paths. They find this assimilation to be particularly offensive when it is motivated by a desire for profit. It is seen as a horrendous desecration.
In a "Declaration of war against exploiters of Lakota Spirituality," three traditional Lakota spiritual leaders condemned:
|"...having our most precious Lakota ceremonies and spiritual practices desecrated, mocked and abused by non-Indian 'wannabes,' hucksters, cultists, commercial profiteers and self-styled 'New Age shamans' and their followers."|
|Having their precious Sacred Pipe sold openly at flea markets, New Age stores, etc.|
|Profit-making groups holding sweatlodges, sundances, shaminism, and vision quest programs for the public.|
|Inaccurate and negative portrayal of Indian people in movies and TV.|
|Efforts to create syncretistic religions by combining Native rituals and beliefs with New Age and Neopagan spiritual paths.|
"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home."
are wiser than waking."
"I cured with the power that came through me. Of course, it was not I who cured, it was the power from the Outer World, the visions and the ceremonies had only made me like a hole through which the power could come to the two-leggeds."
"If I thought that I was doing
it myself, the hole would close up and no power could come
through. Then everything I could do would be foolish."
Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.
And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy...
But anywhere is the center of the world.
Chief of the Ojanjan Sioux (1905-1939)
"We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, the winding streams with tangled growth, as 'wild'. Only to the white man was nature a 'wilderness' and only to him was it infested' with 'wild' animals and 'savage' people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery."
"If today I had a young mind to direct, to start on the journey of life, and I was faced with the duty of choosing between the natural way of my forefathers and that of the... present way of civilization, I would, for its welfare, unhesitatingly set that child's feet in the path of my forefathers. I would raise him to be an Indian!"
"Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.
"No one was quick with a question, no matter how important, and no one was pressed for an answer. A pause giving time for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning and conducting a conversation."
"From Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, there came a great unifying life force that flowed in and through all things -- the flowers of the plains, blowing winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals -- and was the same force that had been breathed into the first man. Thus all things were kindred, and were brought together by the same Great Mystery.
"Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.
"The animals had rights -- the right of man's protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man's indebtedness -- and in recognition of these rights the Lakota never enslaved an animal and spared all life that was not needed for food and clothing. For the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them."
"This concept of life and its relations was humanizing and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all."
"The Lakota could despise no creature, for all were of one blood, made by the same hand, and filled with the essence of the Great Mystery. In spirit, the Lakota were humble and meek. 'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth' -- this was true for the Lakota, and from the earth they inherited secrets long since forgotten. Their religion was sane, natural, and human."
"The old Lakota was wise. He knew that a man's heart away from Nature becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon lead to a lack of respect for humans too."
"The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power."
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