I am Native!

I AM Native!

I AM Native!

In response to a (potentially becoming) vitriolic thread, denying non-natives the right to follow the traditions of native peoples within their spiritual practices, the following kind of spewed out… ๐Ÿ™‚ Thought it worth sharing here.

“Love this thread. The basic premise (effect of the adoption of native practices within western society, and the native view of the phenomenon) struck a chord. In trying to respond, I ended up quoting all the wonderful points made in various posts. Then realised how ridiculous trying to respond to such a veritable tome was. Probably better to start from the beginning.

I am native. Scottish. Born of the land; blood, bone and sinew. The first 18 years of life were spent working the land, immersed in the cycles of nature; embraced within the infinite dance between life and death. Hawk, eagle, fox, mink and otter were cruel, if beautiful, tutors. Sparrow, linnet, trout and deer sang a gentler song. Lacking bison, it was cow who touched my soul deepest.

Soil. Water. Air. Three keys to maintain the delicate balance. 1986. Chernobyl. Fire. The fish went first. Then the birds. It took 5 years for the poison to go. It’s not, really. It’s still there. But they can eat the fruits of the Earth without too much danger. I felt like Judas. I was no longer there to assist the task of breathing life back into the mother’s body. They finally gave up, and planted trees.

Since ever I remember, the trees, the rocks, the very earth herself, sang a clear song. I listened. And failed to understand.

At 18, I moved to the city. Neither the words of that song, nor the tune, did I find there. Not in college. Not in religion. Not in politics. Nor in science. And the longer I was away, the fainter the song.

Fast forward.

2006. I had become involved in crystal work. In hindsight, I think I was still looking for a snippet of that old tune. I was helping out the owner of the local crystal store at one of these new age events; which drove both of us nuts, surrounded by plastic peddlars in self-denial as the path to feeling good about yourself. And in the corner, a quite presence.

On his table a single quartz, a piece of turquoise, a feather, and several stone carved animals. At the third event where our paths crossed, he approached me. After some small talk around a particular crystal, he asked how I finish a healing. A bit shocked, I old him, at which point he cursed, turned away and said “I promised a long time ago, that I would never again teach a white man the traditions of our medicine. But my guides have been insistent since we met, that I must teach you. I have fought it all this time, but having tested the guides, and received the requested signs, I have no choice. You must study the Shamanic Way, and I must be your teacher.”

Three years of intense one on one work followed. And although it was all completely alien, somehow it fitted. Nature began singing her song again. He headed off back to his Pueblo in 2010, semi-satisfied that his time hadn’t completely been wasted. I hope.

Am I a shaman of the Zuni tradition? No. Do I feel connected to that tradition? Through the knowledge and deep practice of the ceremonies, a comprehension of their basic beliefs through relating them to my own early experiences… yes. But only in that my training opened something which had already existed in my heart.

I feel, someone has already said it, that, as an outsider, I can never fully immerse myself in the tradition. What it has allowed, is a reconnection to a tradition, long-lost in these Isles, and have spent a large part of the time since trying to replace the New World herbs with those of the Scottish tradition, relocate the ceremonies within the Scottish landscape, both historical and modern, and to find the point of connection between all aboriginal animistic belief systems in an attempt to relocate those lost from my native lands. Spiritually, I have refound myself.

(This is one point I want to disagree with, regarding a previous post that “we cannot be spiritual all the time”. Yes we can. Indeed we MUST. Every action is a spiritual action, and should be carried out with the same level of reverence that your most sacred practice attracts. Without bringing that focus on all we do, we fail to recognise the influence and action of spirit which encompasses ALL aspects of our lives).

Hopefully, that goes some way towards explaining why this thread set off a train of wondering… ๐Ÿ˜‰

About Running Elk

My given native name, Running Elk, was bestowed in 2008 as I took my first steps as a fully fledged Medicine Man of the Zuni tradition. A most unlikely candidate for the role, my journey as a healer began some four years prior. The detour onto the shamanic way was most unexpected, yet has been one of the most rewarding challenges to date.
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17 Responses to I am Native!

  1. prewitt1970 says:

    I agree so while heartly with your words here. Always spiritual in action and thought. I am not always a leaf I’m the wind , not a rock in the sea a cloud in the sky. But I am always what was,is and will be in everything I do touch and say. I one is going to recognize and welcome the gifts of life then it is not a door I believe one should open and shut at will.
    Namaste
    Benjamin

  2. Wonderful story. We are all children of Mother Earth and our spirit calls us home.

  3. Sue Vincent says:

    โ€œwe cannot be spiritual all the timeโ€???
    But we ARE spiritual all the time.. regardless of where our attention lies, or where we focus. It is our spiritual nature than animates the physical form, and it is in the essence of that nature that Consciousness itself lies.
    We just forget that, or ignore it.
    It may be true that we must attend to the workaday necessities, that we cannot waft through life with our eyes glowing and fixed on another realm beyond this one, failing to attend to the needs of incarnation.. and that we cannot, perhaps, look like a fluffy spiritual being all the time… but true spirituality comes from the innermost being and is part of every breath… whether you are standing on a hilltop, robed, and greeting the morning, or whether you are wielding the hoover, wearing a business suit or taking out the trash.
    Spirituality is about being … and is the silent, intimate foundation of who we are.

    • Running Elk says:

      lol Obviously a raw nerve with you as it is with me… ๐Ÿ˜€
      I’ve never gotten it. Remember an article that started off explaining the disappointment of the New Age? This is what started it!! lol I just couldn’t fathom how you could separate the time spent in sacred space from the time spent digging the garden scrubbing the floors, or, heaven forfend, writing up the monthly report… Surely every one of them required the same focus, intent and dedication? The Saturday evening New Age meet failed to expand much on the Sunday morning bells and smells brigade… ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Don’t get me wrong… there are moments, many of them, often all joined up together, when I’m just clunking along the bottom too. Coming out of it, though, there has to be, for me, a bit of IMMEDIATE inspection of how that happened… couldn’t bear to wait till the next alloted “spiritual” time slot to root around for whatever lesson was being pointing at… :/

      • Sue Vincent says:

        Me neither. The dots are all joined… it goes right back to that old quote I used to use on the forums.. we are spiritual beings having a physical experience… and you just can’t subtract spirit from the equation that easily ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Great post! I am so glad to get to know about you and how you were chosen to be a shaman. It would be interesting to know the process and your experience of it. I have nothing profound to say. Just find it intriguing. Two people have said to me I would have been a shaman under other circumstances. But I have no idea if what they were saying had any truth. I am just mentally ill according to conventional medicine. Anyhow thanks for posting such an interesting piece!

    • Running Elk says:

      Ha-ha. Yes. Conventional medicine has such a wonderful way of placing labels on us, in a manner that is somehow always restricting.
      Yet, even until the late 19th Century, those with the talents and skills that come with the “condition”, were recognised as special (in the positive sense), all be it that they may have always been marginalised and misunderstood. Napoleon took enormous numbers of aspies with him on his treks through the Empire, recording, painting, deciphering…
      Not sure when, or why, society turned away from recognising and affirming the talents; instead choosing to focus on the restrictions and limitations that many on the scale will face. Possibly industrialisation just doesn’t know what to do with (or how to make money from) such intensely focussed and singular individuals. Though interstingly, the computer age has once again heralded many more opportunities for a lucky few. I digress…
      And yes, I have no doubt that those two people could be right in their assertion. Many of the skills required of the shaman, aspies come by readily – as they are essentially the talents “imposed” by the condition… ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Interesting… all of it– your post and the comments. I didn’t know about Napoleon nor did I know about Aspies having skills required of a shaman. How long have you been a shaman?

    • Running Elk says:

      Veritable beginner. The shamanic part of my training didn’t begin till end of 2006, and around end of 2009 I was shocked be be entrusted with a rather special staff by way of graduating. Started really learning about then… ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Beautiful. Thank you. And ever so timely. Of course. The land calls me. No ignoring it. Too high here in this apartment. Too removed, though the water carries me, has helped me slip between the veils. Time now to dance with the below, to visit the underground, to sing with the lines of the Earth. Well met in this space again, RE.

  7. Hi, Running Elk, thank you for visiting and giving me a “like”. I wondered how you are, your tests, etc. That is if you want to share such things. I understand if you don’t. Sending love and light, Ellen

    • Running Elk says:

      Doing well, thank you Ellen. Tests all came back negative (for what they were looking for… ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and they made the mistake of indicating that I had the lung function of a much younger man… so poor Ann is constantly being reminded that I am much younger than I should be… ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Hope you are doing well, yourself Ellen. Been a long haul for you this time round. Think of you often, and send love and healing regularly. Much love. xxx

      • So glad you are doing well and that the tests came back negative but keeping you on my Friday Reiki list.

        Yes, I am having a hard time on new medication regime. May have to go back to the poison of before. Fighting it. Thanks for sending healing my way– much appreciated!

        Much love, Ellen

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