Wiwila Oyate

All over the world, on every continent and in every culture one can hear stories of a tiny race of people who live underground. Through the illustrations of children’s books one can see that this belief survived the Inquisition and the domination of Christianity. The Little People may be small but their presence is strong among those who have seen and encountered them. Like the Tree Spirits (Fairies) and the Sasquatch (Bigfoot), many cultures share the lore of these mythical beings, even into present day.

Lore of the Little People, Elves, Leprechauns or Gnomes is so incredibly vast that it would take a lifetime to record all the known stories of them. Like the Tree Fairies and Bigfoot, the stories continue as people encounter them. One theme that remains constant in all cultures is how these mythical being are visiting us less and less as we recede away into the realm of logic. The more domestic we become, the more preposterous these old stories seem.

Wiwila is the Lakota word for Spring, a place where water flows from the earth. Wiwila Oyate is one of several names for the Little People, The Spring Nation. The Wiwila are said to have been created before humankind. Made to regulate the seasons, the movement of the planets, the waterways and springs, these people are some times seen by others, reminding us of the stories of old.

Whatever the culture, the stories of them usually include the granting of a wish, some sort of trickery or a combination of both. Always there seems to be an element of danger or harm that may befall one who harasses them. It is believed that when venturing into the wilderness one should take heed not to trespass into Wiwila territory or suffer the invisible arrows shot by little men. While the Wiwila is feared and avoided in most cases, there is a time and place where they are still called upon for help, Yuwipi.

Nowhere is the Wiwila more prevalent than in the Yuwipi and lowanpi Ceremonies. They can be seen, heard running about and are often felt and recognized by their tiny hands. Usually one would not speak of them, let alone write about them on the computer! Now we have reached a time where we must remind the human race about the servants of the earth and of the other beings who live in symbiosis with us here. It may seem unreasonable to modern culture that they exist, but the fact remains that they do.

The Wiwila, among other beings, are said to have inhabited the earth before humankind, at some point they are said to have called us, or wished us here with their intention, drawing us from the Pleiades. This is not just Lakota myth, many cultures believed this at one time. It is said that the creator gave us intelligence to appreciate his artwork, but it is also said that we were given intelligence in order to communicate with the divine beings. So that when the Wiwila needed help in regulating nature, they could call upon the humans for help.

As a race, we seem unable to hear them now but they are calling to us still, even through the chatter of our own minds. Around the industrial revolution there are literally thousands of stories of warnings from the Little people all over the world. It is so strange that these stories are so obscure and hard to find because it was not so long ago that the Industrial revolution began. In Germany, each town and province has stories of their warnings, that the they are leaving because of the construction of some machine or factory in the area. There are literally thousands of such stories across Europe.

Could it be that the modern concept of aliens is none other than the original inhabitants of this world? In Native American understanding, the Star Nations (wicahpi Oyate), are the the gods and goddesses who live in the heavens, not alien races. Obviously there seems to be life everywhere, but these alien characters seem more like elves than astronauts! Whatever the case may be, their message is clear to those that listen carefully.

The Sacred

 

August 2013 014

We live in a world of rapid change, of changing priorities and changes in our perception. Have we as humans recorded this change, Have we measured the the passage of our perceptual change? How much has the light of knowledge dawned and to what degree have the shadows receded? We know there has been a change in the world around us, so what of the change within us? What is the spiritual significance of this change in our lives, for spiritual people?

For the spiritual seeker there is a clear distinction of what is sacred and that which is mundane. Our beliefs and our experience determine the degree and the extents of the boundary of the sacred. It is our perception of the sacred that defines the world around us, not only for the spiritual seeker, but for us all. The way we feel about things, our opinions and our perception paint the world around us. Perception is everything to us and it determines the quality of our life.

To our forefathers and mothers, the world around them was traced with certain dividing lines. There were places of great holiness according to the stories of old. There have always been those geological wonders that inspire in humankind a sense of divinity. Places, that according to the creation stories were blessed from some  divine event. Likewise, in the desolate waste land there exists a not so sacred place, perhaps a place of danger that is to be avoided. Perhaps a place condemned by myth.

For untold thousands of years we have lived with this precept of that which is sacred and that which is profane. In the minds of all of our ancestors were the dividing lines of varying degrees of sacredness, of sacred space. The ancestors listened to the teachings of the elders of the sacred center, Hocoka Wakan. Like the top of the sacred mountain. Not just the mountain that is sacred, but its’ summit. That pristine untouched place, pure and undefiled by man.

The lesson of the medicine wheel is one of sacred space and in it’s center is that neutral ground, the origin of all. From every place in the wheel the center remains, the scenery changes and our awareness of the center changes yet it is still the center. This central point represents the first place, the creators’ first perception, its’ first vantage point. I am here! This is the time before time and it deals with space, the center of the universe!

In all ceremonies you will find such a space, hallowed ground upon the altar, maybe even too divine to touch, like the sacred mountains’ peak! One can locate such places easily, even to the untrained eye looking within the center of the Sweat Lodge or out to the center of the Sun Dance. The elders tell us of the wisdom of walking with sacred foot steps from this center into the rest of our lives. Every foot step taken in humility and respect in a sacred way upon our holy mother earth. Here we define the limits of sacred space, push the boundaries of divinity with our own respect and love for Mother Earth.

In the Creation stories emerge all that there is from the center and then space is measured and divided as the body of the divine mother, made out of the very primordial essence of the Creator. So here we have that level of sacredness that pervades all space, with every thing as sacred and not merely by virtue of its’ origin but also by virtue of its existence. It is sacred because it is, because it is not void. Void, then, could represent the mundane, the boring, even with the understanding that these are special too. There is this sense then, that a cursed place of wondering ghosts and wicked spirits is within the realm of this holy creation even though it is profane and cursed.

Here we venture into the realm of consecration, the act of forgiving a place. This is the idea of lifting a curse on a broken space, of filling the void of desolation with love and the acknowledgement if its divine origins. In the act of forming the altar of soil we consecrate it and by showing its center with the placement of the staff or blessed object we affirm the center of the universe and the origins of all space. Making a place a physical representation of the creation stories, redeeming a mundane place by acknowledging it as part of the goddess’s body.

With our minds we cast the divisions of sacred places even into modern day. The most non-spiritually focused person will still have that special warmth for ones place of birth. Affinity for ones childhood home and places of play are sacred within the mind of desacralized man. De-sacralized : to have removed the aura of sacredness from; secularize. For those with no concept of holiness, some things are still definitely special and for them, and therefore, sacred.

Within all creation myth is that sacred point of beginning which is marked by the center. From that center something very special happens, Movement! Like the center of the Aztec calendar we can see the central glyph of Ollin, motion, the Lakota God, Skanskan. This speaks of movement that came from stillness and stagnation, time that elapsed after timelessness. Just as form came from the void, motion came to the stagnant.

Here we have another thing that can be measured and perceived. Like space, it is the quality of our perception that determines the relativity of time. If you are waiting in vain for a very late friend, that time spent can be downright nasty, not sacred! Finally when the point of meeting with your friend and joy begins, time quickens and is savored as sacred in every cherished movement.

In essence, the act of ceremony is the re-enactment of the creation stories. The religious rite is now enacting the dawn of time and space. In the Sweat Lodge, Yuwipi, Sun Dance and every spiritual rite in every sane and sacred tradition one can find this division of sacred time and space. For the ancestors, the beginning of time was a holy time and the act of ceremony transformed the mundane time into sacred time, The consecration of time!

Our ancestors had a lot of sacred time. The four sacred divisions of the day and night, the dawn of light being the beginning of time and a space between time. The midday when the shadows are smallest and mark the apex of the sun, then dusk in its calmness and rest, also a space between time. Then midnight ( some say 2 or 4) when all is at rest and the Eagle is said to take a drink of water and the Mole ascends to feel the air. As it is with space, in the big picture we can see that all time could be seen as sacred by virtue of it not being non-movement.

For the Spiritual, time is a sacred movement of Great Mystery from beginning to end, from the time of the creators first awareness until the very fulfillment of that awareness all the way into omnipotence! From the first motion until that point that every thing that could have been done, moved and realized has been done. So the ancestors listened to the wisdom of the storyteller account that each passing moment in this life is to be lived in respect and honor and that each transition from one moment into the next is a sacred dance of the divine.

To modern man time is limited and not as vast as it was for his ancestors. It is measured by its limit and not by its infinity. For him time is running out and he is waiting, waiting for that place in time that, to him , is sacred. We live in a time where special time exists in leisure, after work. For our ancestors work was sacred, ritual drama and thought were seen as sacred acts and not as mundane things. To the original ancestors, leisure was more mundane than the hunt and the work.

Rather than speculating through the lens of our myopic spiritual opinions, let us look at what can be measured and counted with scientific processes. The elders speak of vast expanses of space and time as being sacred, The Sacred Mountains. Now they are seen more as national resources and places of leisure rather than the breasts of Mother Earth. Time can be counted for the domestic human in terms of seconds, minutes and hours rather than by experiences.

For industrialized humans, all time is mundane until those special moments finally arrive. Now the sacred has become the weekend, the party and for him the only true rituals are weddings and funerals. Most of the time is in passing now and in wait for something not boring. Such sacred events such as giving birth have been reduced to a medical procedure. The holiest of holy, in women’s time, the menses or moon-time is seen with shame and embarrassment, especially the first Moon-Time. Time is slipping away for the domestic human, and yet it is a dance for the aboriginal. Time always seems to be running out for those attempting to not be late and for Industrial man, death awaits him to mark the end.

Lets look at the modern spiritual seeker and domestic man on the timely path of salvation and redemption. Here we can easy measure that sacred time has been scheduled as a day of the week and sacred space has been confined to the inside of a church building! Even for the religious, the sacred has receded, it has been extracted from within the home. The personal shrine within the home and hearth and has been placed behind lock and key under the charge of a “spiritual middle man” who will intercede with God on you behalf. The spiritual path has devolved into an academic pursuit rather than being measured in terms of experience alone.

At the center of spirituality as well as life it’s self is our perception and our perception determines what we are aware of. Like all domesticated animals, we are focusing on our thought rather then our emotions. domestication is where neurosis are born and the mind prods and judges the feelings (which is the reverse for the untamed). The intellect is over shadowing bodily awareness and it can be proven scientifically. At the expense of our direct instinct we seem to be trading our knowing-ness for reflection, thinking about things.

Our modern cultures’  pursuit of intelligence may cost us our symbolical mind altogether. The symbolical mind has receded into our subconscious with the increase of language, meaning that we think more and more with words and less and less with symbols. This allows humans to be more intellectual at the expense of our ability to directly perceive things. This is scientific fact. What people are not measuring scientifically (anthropologically), are the changes in spiritual experience among domestic culture.

We now live in a world where the earth itself is seen as profane and something to be harnessed and dominated. With our perception we paint the world around us and as we open our minds to rationalization we can also be seen as closing our our minds to the Spiritual. The spirit is outside of math, measurement and logic. The spiritual defies the mind just as the void defies form. The Sacred is becoming superstition and collectively the human race is shutting itself off from non-rational possibilities. “Miracles” are quickly becoming “impossibilities”.

It is up to us to keep the dream alive and who knows what fate awaits our kind? Do not rely too heavily upon the mind. Many wonderful things are coming from the organization of human affairs, let’s not cast ourselves into the mundane in the process. Hold on to the magic unbridled, release everything you think you know and deify the unnatural ways though which you have been conditioned. Arrive alive in sacred space and time. Here and now, everywhere and forever! Shine as brightly as you can.

Show Father sky and Mother Earth your urgency, live life aloud and rise above your petty comfort zones. Resist being comforted into a state of complacency, refuse being lulled away into the suckling comforts of domesticated inertia. Fight and overcome what is rightfully yours as humans, for the wildness and unpredictable spirit untamed. Reclaim what you really want of your selves, feel the power of Nature and the timeless connection to the very center of all that is. You are an Immortal being, fearless and impervious to everything on this earth.

Claw through your thin domestic veneer and be who you were always meant to be. Come alive and face the storm with abandon. Show some backbone in your life and roar aloud! Be bold and real, stop cradling your precious internal dialog and false self image. Go beyond all that and break through to your savage, real and animal connection to your Mother Earth.

Aho Mitaku Oyasin!

 

12 Lakota Virtues

A view from the arbor

12 Lakota Virtues

Essential to balance and happiness, there are 12 Lakota Virtues that were a part of everyday life for our Native American ancestors. These are lessons that were taught by storytellers who lived the lessons they imparted. They practiced what they preached. These virtues were and are the foundation of Lakota culture. The teaching is that our quality of life is not measured by material possessions but by how well our life’s journey flows and dances through these virtues. In Lakota “wicozani” is a word which describes wealth by living a happy well balanced life with physical and mental health in harmony with creation. We remember how our ancestors lived, remaining true to ourselves and to them by listening to the stories while being mindful of these important specific teachings.

Buffalo

These are the 12 Lakota Virtues:

1. Humility (Unsiiciyapi) – The first and most important step in life and especially on the spiritual path is humility which is the opposite of pride. In terms of spirituality, if the step of humility is skipped it results in delusions of grandeur. Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues. If you brag about your generosity then it spoils the generosity.

2. Perseverance (Wowacintanka) – In spite of difficulties we persist in our efforts which is a deeply empowering source of strength rising from within. To taste success we sometimes are forced to pick ourselves up and the gift is feeling how much life is worth living as we accomplish what we have set out to do. Many of our ancestors were faced with challenges that could only be helped through spiritual strength. This perseverance was what carried them through even to the afterlife.

3. Respect (Wawoohola) – A basic teaching among all tribes was that of respect towards all beings (sentient and insentient) which includes plants, animals, stones, wind, little people, and all of creation. In our present culture this important virtue has become lost with a general message of excess as well as intolerance for those who are challenged, elderly, or different in any way than ourselves. Our Lakota ancestors would ceremonially hunt their bison which would provide clothing, shelter, and food for the people. Every part was used and their spirit was honored by placing their skull facing east to meet the rising sun in unison with the rhythm of life.

4. Honor (Wayunonihan) – Being honorable means having strength of character by being a good person. Honor goes hand and hand with respect and many of the other virtues. To live the virtues it shows that someone has the integrity and dignity that makes up honor. Humility waters the roots of the tree of honor which then bears the fruit of love. By having honor means that one would choose the path of non violence and compassion rather than dishonorable actions.

5. Love (Cantognake) – More than just compassion, love is having the flame of emotion in one’s heart. Love rules over all things. The whole universe exists because of love, it is the motive of all creation.  It is not attachment because love can even be the incentive to be unattached. Love represents the balance that exists in everything. The warmth of the sun’s rays is the sun’s love for us. The ultimate love is spiritual joy which is responsible for life. Deep within each one of us and everything is this basic emotion known as Spirit.

6. Sacrifice (Icicupi) – Sacrifice is giving of oneself. The fruit of love is sacrifice. In the beginning the Creator sacrificed itself to make all that there is and through this humble act we can understand the significance of offering ourselves. In order to accomplish anything, one must be able to make a sacrifice. Whether it be the small sacrifices in your daily life or major sacrifices of your lifetime, we all reap what we sow by this fundamental act. We sacrifice our time and effort every day just to get things done but on a larger spiritual scale we can give of ourselves and give back to the Creator and Creation.

7. Truth (Wowicake) – Truth is being honest about yourself and the world around you. There is ultimate truth and then there are all of our individual truths. In this world of illusion we must rely upon our inner truth to know which way to go. Through gaining an understanding of life we learn to see beyond the illusions into what is real for us. We all have our own individual perspectives, it is relying upon our own perception within the greater reality that allows us to be in truth.

8. Compassion (Waunsilapi) – Doing what is right in caring for others as you would yourself is what makes a person compassionate. One need not feel sorry for or sympathetic to  anyone in order to live this virtue. In fact it is that inner strength that allows us to have the unconditional love that creates true compassion.

9. Bravery (Woohitike) – When an understanding of destiny and chance matures within the mind there is a dawning of faith within the heart. This is true courage. Bravery is born of the wisdom of life and death as well as one’s honor. It is not blind or reckless and can come from the very depths of our being in times of need. This open act of vulnerability despite circumstances can help us defy even the worst odds.

10. Fortitude (Cantewasake) – After learning patience and inner endurance one gains the strength necessary to have fortitude. Emotional stability, being alert, and having determination can help in having this persistent integrity. This is not an inflexible force. It is a quiet, gentle voice of a Grandmother with deep faith, trust, and understanding.

11. Generosity (Canteyuke) – “To have a heart” is the literal translation of this Lakota word which is a timeless virtue residing in the heart. True generosity has always been encouraged and exemplified in Lakota society while accumulating material possessions was greatly discouraged. As our Earth Mother gives everything, we should in turn do the same. True generosity embodies love and the understanding of impermanence.

12. Wisdom (Woksape) – Only after one has learned about life and is able to act on all the other virtues, can one be considered wise. First we attain knowledge then we learn to apply that knowledge. Wisdom is acting on what you know. Our gift to life is wisdom as well as life’s gift to us. It is knowing the difference between truth and the illusion. One can have knowledge without wisdom but one cannot have wisdom without knowledge. Wisdom is a reward from life for persevering through all of the virtues.