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… 🙂 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.
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… 😉