Spiritual Preservation

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What is the reason for spiritual preservation? In this modern age spirituality is being threatened by the quickly spreading scourge of over rationalization and disbelief. These times not only represent the mentality that goes along with the peak of the industrial age but also the Taming and domestication of the human spirit. With quantum physics in mind one can easily see where our culture is heading. We are actually cutting ourselves off from magic.  With the collective awareness of humankind being focused like a lens, it has caused us to lose sight of the bigger picture. Scientific process is good but it has become a shortsighted and insensitive act. Over intellectualization have dumbed down our emotional intelligence and have left the symbolical mind inaccessible.

This is not just speculation but scientific fact. The art of Anthropology came into being because of the changes in behavioral modifications of Industrialized culture. It is always interesting as well as alarming when a non-domestic peoples are able to perceive things that domesticated people cannot. What is most alarming is that people are not using the same parts of the brain that they used to. Imagination is failing quickly among the children and it has been found that we even hear things differently. Wild animals cannot interpret digital audio recordings like modern humans.

Aldous Huxley’s brave new world is upon us and few can even see it coming. Most people are so excited to have new comforts and luxuries that they don’t care about at what expense. Like domesticated animals, we are becoming more analytical and not necessarily more intelligent. The analytical mind is practically synonymous with sociopathic dysfunction. We all know the difference between a wild mouse and a caged lab mouse, also how the behavior of the buffalo is in stark contrast to domestic cattle. We all know what happens to a wild animal when you cage it, it becomes necrotic, a condition that does not exist in the wild.

We all know about the delicate balance of nature as well as the human mind, what is to become of a species who has lost touch with the symbolical mind. What will happen to mankind with no sense of magic and no ability to assume or imagine anything outside of “rational” boundary’s. The very act of spiritual expression depends on all of these factors, but this is just one of numerous concerns for our possible future.

We owe a great dept to the profound foresight of our ancestors, not just intellectually but through their hopes and dreams for us now. In the same way that people would make sacrifices for rain and abundant crops, they would pray for the availability of food and water for the coming generations. This and many other practices have dramatically ceased. much of our fate relied upon the projections of our ancestors, all of a sudden it is all seen as foolish superstition. Wild attributes can return quickly and intuition is a very powerful force but lets look at what is happening to peoples sense of family and humanity.

The most detrimental thing to spirituality is the domestication of mankind, not just from a mental point of view, but from a physical point of view. It is always interesting to observe a person who has never ventured far from the side walk, while traipsing through the Forrest. It can be very difficult for a city person to move through the brush on uneven ground. In the same way it can be difficult to maneuver spiritually for the closed minded individual. What I mean is the act of non-physical movement.

My greatest concern for the future of religion is our disconnection from nature. I should also add that domesticated religion seems to have no use for nature and is inherently academic. Imagine if you will having to ark weld on the moon to pay your oxygen bills. What would it be like for someone to have robotic implanted body parts to improve ones work skills. These things are not much different than the present. Will mankind manifest an industrial horror for the future. If we proceed without religious freedom and and without a sense of magic we will create a miserable existence for the future.

Regardless of the advent of science, people need the awe and mystery of the spiritual. Magic is hardwired into our system, we need it along with spontaneity and imagination. Humans and all animals thrive with a certain types of stresses and fail under perfected conditions. We had a person ask us if they could take breaks from a Peyote Ceremony because the fire was smoky. I said no, the smoke is part of the experience. If we were to eliminate the fire we would take it’s power away and begin the domestication process. Some scientists surmise that humans may have become intelligent because of the stresses of smoky fires.

We have the opportunity to create a wonderful new world, lets not de-claw the human race in the process. Why are corporations training people to stand in lines? out of convenience? We should reward originality and unpredictably and we should have in mind a holistic and ecological approach to technology. Laws should protect human rights ,freedom of conscience and assembly from domestication!

The Spirit

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 THE SPIRIT

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Fossilized footprint

The term “Spirit” is used in many ways in the English language. When you hear it you may think of the life force responsible for giving the body life. You may think of a supernatural being, a ghost or of one’s disposition, being spirited or having “team spirit”. All of these can be attributed to the the same thing, if we could call it a thing. It is Interesting that there is a word for something that is formless and intangible. Often times the thought of the spirit or the spiritual is seen as being in the realm of fantasy, a fictitious imaginary “thing”. The reason for disbelief in the spirit is simply because it cannot be sensed, detected or measured.

Scientists may detect and measure subatomic particles but they cannot detect the formless. A clairvoyant may sense a ghost but cannot sense the formless (a ghost has form). It could be said that the spirit is an essence but that description is still insufficient. The Elders say that for everything visible, there is also an invisible counterpart but this is not in reference to the spirit. This is in reference to the soul. Everything has an ethereal form as well as a physical form, even modern science can attest to that. The Elders tell us of the soul, the old belief that the soul has many parts that do many different things.

Unlike contemporary christian belief, we understand the soul as having four distinct parts. One can be compared to your reflection, another can be compared to your reflection mirrored within the pupil of your eye, yet another aspect of your soul can be seen as being like your shadow. The fourth part of the soul can be thought of as a mirror or a reflective surface. None of these aspects of the soul are in reference to the spirit but this fourth part does describe the location of the Spirit. The Spirit is the reflection of God upon the mirror of the soul.

Many people don’t know the difference between the Spirit and the soul. The body has the soul as it’s ethereal counterpart.The soul is not what gives us life, the soul is like the body. The body is an organic machine made of atoms, molecules and cells. Similarly, the soul is a machine made of sub-atomic particles, a super computer far more complex and stable than the body. What animates the soul and body is the spirit.

Everything has an unseen counterpart every grain of sand gives off and takes in trillions of subatomic particles every second (according to science). You could say that everything is alive in some form or another. Once I asked a famous medicine man if he believed in extraterrestrial life, visitors from outer space. He said, sure there are about 1000 meteorites that enter our atmosphere every day, the Stone Nations visit us all the time. That’s true, in fact, the Earth acquires about 100 tons of rock per day on average!

The Elders tell us that all things are filled with Spirit and that everything has a Spirit. The Spirit is inexhaustible immeasurable and it has no form. All of us know these things with out knowing how we know them. We all know that everything came from the spirit, that it is the origin of everything. People who believe in the Spirit see it as the ultimate truth. We all seem to agree that it is indestructible and everlasting, we also know that there is but one Spirit. One Spirit that reflects upon all of our souls and gives each one of us life. The spirit could be said to be the fuel of our soul, that which animates us.

Life can be said to be a dance between positive and negative, light and shadow, day and night. all substance seems to be held together by the positive and negative attraction of atoms, everything that science knows is about these Ones and Zeros that compose everything. The unknown factor is the spirit, like dusk and dawn it stands between the day and night. Skanskan, the Creator, is the movement from one moment to the next, the dance of time. There is not really just this duality, there is a function of 3 elements at play here and one of them is invisible and formless! This spiritual element is not time, it stands between time, it allows one moment to lead to another. There is no real way to speak of the Spirit and yet we somehow can speak of it, part of the understanding of it is intuitive.

We say that we are all related, Mitaku Oyasin, My relations, all of them. It is true that all humans have but one common mother, even science will attest to this but that is not what is meant by Mitakuye Oyasin. In essence this statement means that we are related to all that there is and not just because we are made out of one substance but because we all share the same Spirit. We are body, soul and spirit, only three steps away from the source of all. Why then do we seek outside of our selves to find the spiritual?

We all instinctively know the truth. We know that the center of the universe is within us and that the whole cosmos is reflected within every cell of our bodies. Likewise we all know that each one of us carry’s a secret within, a divine mystery, the secret of the spirit. Not everything should be known to us but it is true that although you have your own body and soul, we all share the same spirit and therefore, we are each other.

One spirit fuels and touches each experience through all of us, through everything, until eternity has been fulfilled. Then something even more interesting happens. After infinity it reviews everything from another perspective, without time, space or any point of perspective, without a vantage point! This is happening now, somehow the Spirit is everywhere and somewhere else at the same time, deifying time, space. It is outside of math and logic, science cannot prove it nor disprove it. It has no gender, no shape, no color. It is in equal measure every where, even nowhere, in the void, within nothingness.

There is the age old question, why are we here? We are contributing to eternity, we are reaching the totality of all possibilities, that place in the future when everything has been done or at least imagined. This place at the end of time when omnipotence is reached. What is greater than omnipotence but to forget and savor the flavor of the moment?

 

 

Native American Spirituality

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During the Industrial Revolution Native American Culture was persecuted to the point of near extinction. Unknown to most scholars, American Indians would have suffered total genocide had it not been for Christian protests, Theologians, Religious lobbyists and Lawyers. It was public outrage that saved the American Indian, not our prowess on the battlefield.

In the 1890’s, James Mooney, an anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution, attended Peyote meetings among the Kiowa and the Tarahumara. Finally, in 1918, after testifying in favor of American Indians at Congressional hearings, Mooney advised various tribes to obtain a legal charter to protect their religious freedom. With Mooney’s help, the Native American Church was officially incorporated in 1918. Today it is the most widespread Native  American religion in the world.

When most people think of Indigenous American Spiritual practices they think of the The Sun Dance, Vision Quest and Sweat Lodge. These ceremonials are gaining in popularity but are actually very rare. Very few Sun Dances exist, with around only 300 annual Dances. For the Native American Church on the other hand, there are probably a minimum of 300 Ceremonies every weekend in North America. That sounds like a lot, and compared to The Lakota Sun Dance and Sweat Lodge, it is. For the most part, Indigenous Spirituality is very rare.

Most Native Americans are Christian. There are indigenous spiritual traditions in the United States, The majority of them are very small groups and are very secretive. The Hopi spiritual tradition is literally held together by a handful of people.These great traditions are dwindling because the younger generations are not willing to take part in them and because the elders are not willing to share them outside of their own tribes.

Indigenous Spirituality is wrought with problematic issues. Like most spiritual organizations, many people are attracted to them for the wrong reasons. There are many people who Sun Dance who are alcoholic and have other addictions. There are Native American Church members of 20 years who are not genuinely spiritual. This is an issue in many spiritual paths. On a positive note, Native Traditions have served to attract people from all walks of life to make major changes in there lives and taught many to pray and behave themselves in a spiritual manner when they would not do so otherwise.

The beauty of the Red Road and it’s spiritual journey rests in it’s ability to empower the individual. The seeker is to find his or her’s own answers through a direct connection with the divine. Not to say that there are no intermediaries or leaders, there are. Seekers must push forward on their own steam and make real and personal sacrifices for the spiritual connection. No one can do that for you, your spirituality rests upon you alone and that is a truly universal truth.

No matter what sacrifices you have made, how many dances you have completed, how many ceremonies you have attended, the fact remains that your connection is within you and is dependent only upon your personal effort. Spirituality is an internal process. You may have the great fortune of sharing and celebrating that expression with others within a group, but the genuine connection always occurs within.

At some point the light of spiritual awakening dawns within. At this point one may become aware that others are not sincere and may be involved for selfish reasons. This is an inherent problem in all spirituality everywhere and is all too evident in Native America. Spirituality is a process, so it is very important not to be in a place of judgement.  A path may have attracted someone with the romanticism of Native heritage or the allure of ancient mystic practices. Medicines like Peyote and Ayahuasca attract many people, some are beckoned by narcotic curiosity alone. Whatever the case may be, at some point the seeker is faced with the inevitable spiritual dilemma of one’s own divine connection.

Most American Indian Spiritual leaders hold other spiritual paths in the highest regard and are not in judgement of race. In this day and age it is of utmost importance for all religions to have respect for one another and to learn from one another as well. It is crucial now for us to see the bigger picture, far above our cultural influence and personal opinions is the bigger picture. What is the Center of the Universe’s view on Native Spirituality as opposed to anything else? What does God think about what kind of spiritual group you are a part of? what is important to our Mother Earth in terms of how we pray?

In Indigenous American spiritually we say that “there is no wrong or right way to pray” and “don’t make someone wrong for praying”. When involved in the task of spirituality it is important to keep a clear and unhindered perspective. beyond every thing you think you know, there is the reality of your connection to the divine. It is essential to strip your self of illusions about spirituality, to lay bare and honest ones intentions on the path.

Indigenous spirituality does this very well, but, for the spiritual seeker we advise you to learn everything you can about spirituality. Keep your mind as open as you can. All spiritual paths should lead to the same place and most of them may have some piece of the puzzle. Tolerance between the worlds’ religions may be the key for all of us to having a better relationship with the divine. Try for a moment to disregard the human concept of god and imagine Gods’ perspective of the whole issue.

There should be less emphasis on form and more emphasis on function. Having a pipe (Canupa) means nothing without being on the other end of it with a prayer. Whatever path you follow, others will criticize you for that and if we are to reach world peace , the criticisms need to come to an end. Tolerance, respect and love are what the spiritual paths teach and even an atheist will agree that these things are great. If you are on the Red Road don’t forget why you do what you do.

What we Believe

PETA WAKANPETA WAKAN

VISION STATEMENT

 TO BE A COMMUNITY WHICH AUTHENTICALLY PROMOTES AND SUSTAINS: TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS AMERICAN RITUALS AND CEREMONIES; AWARENESS OF AND PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD LAND AND WATER STEWARDSHIP; HARMONIOUS LIVING WITH ALL BEINGS AND NATURE THROUGH A SELF-SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY. OUR VISION IS TO SUSTAIN, ADMINISTER, PROTECT, FACILITATE, SPREAD, EDUCATE, EXERCISE AND EXPRESS TO AND FOR ALL PEOPLES THE INDIGENOUS AND ABORIGINAL RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES, WAYS OF SPIRITUAL EXPRESSION, AND WAYS OF LIVING IN HARMONY WITH THE EARTH, EACH OTHER, AND GOD, WAKAN TANKA.





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MISSION STATEMENT

OUR MISSION IS TO PROVIDE AUTHENTIC TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS CEREMONIES AND RITUALS. OUR COMMUNITY WILL BE ORGANIZED FOR THE EXPRESSION OF INDIGENOUS SPIRITUALITY AND TO PROVIDE RELIGIOUS, SPIRITUAL AND EDUCATIONAL SERVICES FOR ALL PEOPLES WILLING TO LIVE IN A SACRED WAY.

 

PURPOSE STATEMENT

 WE PRESERVE INDIGENOUS CEREMONY AND RITUAL, BECAUSE IT IS AN ENDANGERED SPIRITUAL PRACTICE.  WE WANT TO HELP HUMANKIND BY PROMOTING AND ENSURING THE SANCTITY OF THESE TRADITIONS BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THEY ARE IMPORTANT FOR OURSELVES, FUTURE GENERATIONS, AND FOR THE SPIRIT; FOR THE HEALTH OF HUMANITY AND OUR PLANET. WE PROMOTE ACTIVITIES THAT NOURISH, STIMULATE, AND FURTHER DEVELOP HUMAN CREATIVITY THROUGH SPIRITUAL EXPRESSION, CULTURAL IDENTITY, CULTURAL ART, AND HISTORICAL CONSCIOUSNESS, AS WELL AS TO PROMOTE UNIFICATION OF ALL CULTURAL RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL WORKERS. WE HELP BY TEACHING PRAYER TECHNOLOGIES AND OFFERING WORKSHOPS, CLASSES, RETREATS AND OUTREACH PROGRAMS. WE ARE A LIVING EXAMPLE OF A HARMONIOUS AND SELF-SUSTAINING COMMUNITY.

 

STATEMENT OF FAITH

MITAKUYE OYASIN/ALL OUR RELATIONS

 WE BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ALL RELATED.  WE ARE ALL SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD, REGARDLESS OF RACE, CREED, COLOR, AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION.  WE ARE ALL RELATED TO EACH OTHER AS HUMANS. WE ARE ALL RELATED TO THE ANIMALS, THE TWO LEGGED, FOUR LEGGED, WINGED, AND ALL CREATION. WE ARE ALL IN TURN RELATED TO THE EARTH, SKY, AND ALL THAT THERE IS AND THAT WE COME FROM THE STARS.  AS INTELLIGENT BEINGS, WE ARE OBLIGATED TO ACT RESPONSIBLY AS STEWARDS OF ALL CREATION.

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WAKAN TANKA/GOD

 WE BELIEVE IN THE ONE GOD, THE GREAT MYSTERY, WAKAN TANKA.  AS EVERYTHING HE IS FOUR DIVISIBLE BY FOUR AND AGAIN DIVISIBLE INTO THE SIXTEEN GREAT POWERS OF THE UNIVERSE: CHIEF GOD, GREAT SPIRIT, CREATOR, EXECUTIVE, STONE, EARTH, SKY, SUN, THUNDER BEINGS, BEAUTIFUL ONE, WIND, MOON, BUFFALO, BEAR, FOUR WINDS, AND WHIRLWIND. THE SIXTEEN EACH DIVISIBLE BY FOUR INFINITELY INTO ALL THERE IS, KNOWN, UNKNOWN AND UNKNOWABLE.

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CHANUNPA/SACRED PIPE

 WE BELIEVE IN OUR PRAYERS, IN THE POWER OF THE SACRED PIPE, AND THE WHITE BUFFALO CALF MAIDEN WHO BROUGHT THE PIPE TO THE EARTH FOR ALL IT’S PEOPLE.  WE BELIEVE IN HER TEACHINGS, HER BLESSING POWER AND THE PROMISE OF HER RETURN.

Sweat Lodge

INIPI WAKAN/SWEAT LODGE

 WE BELIEVE IN THE PURIFYING AND CLEANSING POWER OF THE SWEAT LODGE CEREMONY, THE SACRIFICE MADE BY THE STONE NATION, THE TUNKASILA (SPIRITS), AND BY ALL THE PARTICIPANTS. WE BELIEVE IN PRAYING WITHIN THIS MOTHER’S WOMB FOR SOBRIETY, CLARITY, GUIDANCE, AND HEALTH.

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HANBLECEYA/VISION QUEST

 WE BELIEVE THAT THE EVERLASTING WORD OF GOD IS SPOKEN FROM EVERY PART OF DIVINE CREATION, THAT THROUGH NATURE AND THE SACRIFICE OF THE VISION QUEST RITE THE GREAT MYSTERY SPEAKS TO US ALL DIRECTLY WITHOUT EXCEPTIONS, INTERMEDIARIES, OR INTERPRETERS.

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YUWIPI – LOWANPI/NIGHT SING

 WE BELIEVE IN THE NIGHT SING, THE POWER OF INYAN/STONE, THE MIRACULOUS HEALING POWER OF THE ANCESTORS AND THE SACRED SONGS. WE BELIEVE IN THE WIWILA/LITTLE PEOPLE, ANIMAL SPIRITS, AND THE VARIOUS OTHER TUNKASILA/SPIRITS. WE BELIEVE IN THE EMPTINESS OF THE MEDICINE MAN/WOMAN AS A HOLLOW BONE FOR THE SPIRITS’ WORK.

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WIYANG WACIPI/SUN DANCE

 WE BELIEVE IN THE ANNUAL SUNDANCE, THE PIPE, THE SACRIFICE OF THE SACRED COTTONWOOD TREE, THE POWER OF THE SUN, AND THE ETERNAL FLAME.  WE BELIEVE THAT THE SACRIFICES OF THE DANCERS, SINGERS, AND SUPPORTERS BENEFITS AND PURIFIES ALL THE PEOPLE.

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ALL NIGHT PRAYER VIGILS/TIPI MEETINGS 

WE BELIEVE IN THE SACRED FIRE, THE HOLY WATER, THE SACRED INSTRUMENTS, THE HALF MOON ALTAR, AND THEIR BLESSINGS.  WE BELIEVE IN THE SACRAMENTAL USE AND THE HEALING POWER OF THE PLANT NATIONS.  WE BELIEVE THAT OUR PRAYERS ARE HEARD AND ATTENDED TO. WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL BE JUDGED, HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR OUR ACTIONS IN THE AFTERLIFE, AND IN THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.

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CALENDAR

 WE BELIEVE IN THE NATURAL RHYTHMS OF DAY AND NIGHT, THE FLOW OF THE SEASONS, THE MOVEMENT OF THE STARS, AND THE EXULTATION OF THESE OCCASIONS THROUGH ANY INDIGENOUS TRADITION OF THE EARTH.  WE CELEBRATE IN SACRALIZING THE ACT OF SONG, DANCE, RITUAL DRAMA, AND CEREMONIAL EXPRESSION.  WE BELIEVE THAT THE TIMES SHOULD BE KEPT, HONORED, RECKONED, AND OBSERVED.  WE BELIEVE IN THE SACRED HOOP AND THE CONTINUITY OF LIFE.

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TIOSPAYE/SPIRITUAL FAMILY

 WE BELIEVE IN FAMILY, EXTENDED FAMILY, ADOPTED FAMILY, AND OUR SPIRITUAL FAMILY. WE BELIEVE IN HOLDING REGULAR MEETINGS TO GOVERN, REWARD, AND DISCIPLINE OUR GROUP IN A HUMANE ABORIGINAL MANNER. WE RESPECT, HONOR AND ARE OBLIGATED TO CARE FOR OUR ELDERS AS WELL AS OUR MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN NEED. WE HONOR THE DECEASED THROUGH FUNERARY RITES BY MAKING OFFERINGS, PRAYERS AND CARING FOR SOULS.

PETA WAKANPETA WAKAN

Modern Indigenous American Traditions





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Who practices Modern Indigenous American Traditions?  People from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. Like all good traditions and spiritual practices, they have the tendency to grow. In terms of Native American spirituality, the Lakota traditions have done the best. This is so because the Lakota people have always shared with others, adopted people as family (Hunka) and have always helped others without hatred and judgement. That is why it is a blossoming tradition. Most native traditions, like the Navajo for example, have had a hard time generating interest among their youth in the practice of traditional ceremonies. Since they have been reluctant to pass their sacred ways outside of their own blood relatives they have suffered the total extinction of many important rites in very recent years. Nowadays the Navajo are related to every race on earth and come from all walks of life. Sadly, Navajo spirituality is still dwindling.  Like most nations of the earth, a small percentage of Navajos are involved in Lakota ceremonials!

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There is this illusion that indigenous traditions must remain unchanged, like the anthropologist frowning over the Sun Dance Chief taking flesh offerings with a surgical scalpel instead of a flint knife. The anthropologist has totally missed the point and cannot see the practicality, wisdom, and level of detachment inherent in non-domestic spirituality (attachment and sentimentality are enhanced in domesticated animals).

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The true indigenous spiritual leaders have the same ethics and humility as most of the world religions. In the first century, Christianity immediately spread from being Jewish to embracing Greeks, Ethiopians and anyone else that expressed an interest, this is a natural phenomenon that can be seen everywhere. One might argue that Native spirituality cannot be compared to Christianity even though it is the chosen path of most Native Americans. Others would say that in the story of Christianity the Jews represented the good traditionalist, staying in line with the sacred ways. Nothing could be further from the truth because the Jewish tradition has always been open to the public. People all faiths continuously convert to Judaism and always have. It is not uncommon for a man to undergo a circumcision operation in the hopes of becoming admitted to Judaism. Like the rest of us, they too are international, global citizens!

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Guess which one is the tribal Elder!

 

_LAN9309Like all paths to God, you’ll find a Catholic and Protestant versions of all of them. There are the purist fundamentalists, the spirit filled ones in rapture, as well as closet atheists who think they are spiritual because they are part of a religion. All of them play important roles as it truly takes all kinds!

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We are constantly reminded at our ceremonial functions of the strange circumstances of the changing world in which we live. There are a lot of misconceptions about spirituality in general and folks these days have allot of different motives for being involved. It is up to us that the coming generations not pollute indigenous ways by making them domesticated. This has been what has hurt the worlds greatest spiritual paths more than anything else. Domestication is warping our perception, the only thing we take with us beyond this life!

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What makes Indigenous traditions, of any kind, so powerful is that they are wild and untamed. They access that part of the human psyche that is unmolested by industrialization.  It is ever important for the human race to hold on to the magic that is swiftly receding away from us. Many new age philosophies would disagree with this, but let me point out that they are a strictly domesticated variety of human beings. When any animal is domesticated, or even when wild animals are caged or subjected to routines, they tend to slip into neurotic behavior patterns, like living in a made up fantasy world.

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Inter-faith gathering

Many do not realize that the Sun Dance is an international religion, for example. There has emerged many powerful medicine men and spiritual leaders representing Indigenous American traditions from the world over. Many people are against this (mostly non spiritual people).  It is truly mysterious how the spirit moves, a person may acquire spirit helpers through association with a tradition, through marriage, by ordination and by birth. Sometimes it runs in the family as was the case with Daniel Dunglas Home and Carlos Mirabelli. There is also the case where someone is born with miraculous powers outside of spiritual tradition altogether.

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Daniel Dunglas Home

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There are hundreds of cases of human foot prints fossilized in stone, anywhere from 1 million to 90 million years old, a testimony to the awesome mystery of humankind and what lurks deep within our human consciousness. Modern Indigenous American Spirituality is in constant flux as we ourselves are redefined by what we know, and that goes for all of spirituality, everywhere!

Only the last remaining indigenous traditions of the world still have miraculous, seemingly impossible things as commonplace. Spiritual leaders of domestic religion, sadly, cannot begin to imagine the reality of  the aboriginal spiritual world (what’s left of it)

.Eagle and Condor, Aztec prophecy of the North and South American Spiritual Alliance

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SPIRITUAL ADVICE

SPIRITUAL ADVICE

PETA WAKAN

FOR THE SERIOUS SEEKER

1. Be connected. Understand that you have a direct connection to the divine and that you are ultimately responsible for your spiritual growth. The native path is about tapping into the connection you already have. Seek advice and learn from others, but know that you are the only one in charge of your own spirituality.

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2. Be honest to yourself about your spirituality. Don’t believe anything you are told, especially about yourself. Question everything you think you know. The allure of fantasy is very potent because it make us feel special, Be humble and be simple. Take it all with a grain of salt, even the truth. Contemplate that the most valuable truth is wordless.

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3. Have courage, Work hard, pray hard and be inspired. Dig deep within yourself and muster up every ounce of of volition that you can. Be excited, feel yourself being filled with charismatic enthusiasm, dauntless unwavering unbridled ferocity. Claw through your fine domestic vanier and unveil your true self, the untamed, unattached nature of your immortal spirit!

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4. Ask for help, tell Wakan Tanka what you want. Tell all the spirits what you want and tell them to prepare you. Ask them to lead you to the right teachers, to just go ahead and give you the magic (if possible). Use your voice (which was given to you for this purpose), cry out into the heavens to receive what you need for spiritual empowerment.powwow 2012 069

 

5. Be a selfless servant with ruthless boundaries. Be humble and kind without being stupid or gullible. Practice kindness, gentleness, nonviolence, and be in harmony with nature. Do not judge or assume, be nice. Among other things, the spiritual path is a matter of attracting the right friends (spirits), you won’t be able to do this if you are erratic, violent and arrogant.

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6. Make sacrifices, put out water for the spirits. Take the time and effort to spend good quality time pursuing your goal. Do Hanbleceya (vision quests) and other rites. Show the center of the universe how much you want it. Show them with your blood, sweat and tears, and do so with a prayer. Be practical with your offerings and never boast about what you have done!

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7. Honor the children. Never allow your spiritual work to compromise children. Take care of the children first, for they are the most important thing on the spiritual journey.  Children and elderly are exempt of all ritual obligations. Never put god\goddess before your children! If you don’t have children, make sure that children benefit by what you do, they may become your future.

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There are many important ways we can progress on the spiritual path. first lets take a look at what that really means, to progress spiritually. One can rationally observe that every one is inherently spiritual, that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience here on earth. This leads to the age old question of why we are here. We are here to fulfill eternity, for Wakan Tanka to to be everything and experience infinity through everything. In the beginning was the void, and from that void of nothingness was an awareness. This awareness felt empty and soon it longed to aspire, to be somthing else. It strove to see itself in new ways, to grow.

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This, then, was the birth of inspiration, and reflects that spiritual urge to aspire and grow. This awareness then became the Creator by sacrificing part of itself. To make this story short, the Creator Sacrificed itself on and on, Transforming into water stone air and fire, and all that is. This process continues today, and as Wakan Tanka is infinite, one could say that God has already completed his task, and to some part of itself we are in the past. To another part of itself we are right here and now, from within every cell in our bodies and from every conceivable and inconceivable direction. All of everything is made of Wakan Tanka. So what is this spiritual urge? Why would we seek to come closer to what we could never escape? Everything is made from god and everything is god, and is independently divinely aware.

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The reason for our existence is to fulfil the creators destiny, we are all involved in this, every single thing that there is, is part of this amazing dance. To understand the spiritual path we need only to look to the old creation stories. Like the the Creator, we have this urge to grow and aspire, and we do. As human beings we grow and naturally reach out for more and more, until, as infants we can take the risk of standing on our own. There is the part about making a sacrifice, taking a risk to expand our view of the world. As we grow and learn physically we are also learning things that will serve us well after this life. In essence, the spiritual path is all about growth.

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Everything we learn here in this life are tools to serve us beyond this life. Avoiding danger, communicating, maneuvering, making friends and solving problems are all tools we will need in the afterlife. In all aboriginal spiritual traditions, we as human beings, eventually have to make the journey through the stars, across the milky way and beyond. It is a big universe out there and we’ll need all the experience we can get to be successful. Thats what we are learning, all of us are growing in a very practical way.

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What i am trying to say with all this is that by being spiritual and focusing upon spiritual matters, we are nourishing our souls. Indigenous rites like sweat lodge and hanbleceya (vision quest), for example, are tools designed to help us  fortify our souls. We are inspired, through nature, to sacrifice of our comfort zones and old ways of being, to grow and expand our horizons.

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We all know, deep inside, the truth that there is one spirit, indivisible, that is eternal and inexhaustible. Our souls are the vehicles that carry that one light of the spirit. Reflected within every soul is that divine life force that fuels us and gives us life. When we say Mitaku Oyasin, we are saying my relatives, all of them. We are all directly connected to the source of all that there is, body, mind, soul and spirit. We are all related, not just in that we are all made out of god’s body. we are all fueled by and connected to the very center of the universe. In essence you could say that we are each other!

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What makes us individual then, is our soul, which houses our spirit. By building upon our souls’ structure, we fortify the spirits’ container. This allows us to expand and grow as a reflection of the very journey that Wakan Tankan took in the creation stories. We do this through spiritually nurturing activities. We do this through aspiring to grow, through self sacrifice, and change. From this clear viewpoint we can see that the spiritual path is truly a very practical journey. The spiritual path has little to do with ancestry and culture and has more to do with getting the job done.

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Keep in mind that not all so called “spiritual paths” are beneficial. Many newer traditions are still in the experimental stage. A two thousand year old tradition is still in the stages of working out the kinks and may not even endure. When you think about it, even an eight thousand year old tradition is really not that old. In light of all this it would make sense to learn everything you can about the most ancient spiritual traditions of the world and make use of all the tools available to you. Do so with the clarity that sees beyond cultural romanticism. Learn, and regardless of anything else BE spiritual!

mitaku oyasin!

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A Blossoming Tradition

 

Who practices Modern Indigenous American Traditions?  People from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. Like all good traditions and spiritual practices, they have the tendency to grow. In terms of Native American spirituality, the Lakota traditions have done the best. This is so because the Lakota people have always shared with others, adopted people as family (Hunka) and have always helped others without hatred and judgement. That is why it is a blossoming tradition. The Navajo have had a hard time generating interest among their youth in the practice of traditional ceremonies. Since they have been reluctant to pass their sacred ways outside of their own blood relatives they have suffered the total extinction of many important rites in very recent years. Nowadays the Navajo are related to every race on earth and come from all walks of life. Like most nations of the earth, a small percentage of them are involved in Lakota ceremonials!

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There is this illusion that indigenous traditions must remain unchanged, like the anthropologist frowning over the Sun Dance Chief taking flesh offerings with a surgical scalpel instead of a flint knife. The anthropologist has totally missed the point and cannot see the practicality, wisdom, and level of detachment inherent in non-domestic spirituality (attachment and sentimentality are enhanced in domesticated animals).

The true indigenous spiritual leaders have the same ethics and humility as most of the world religions. In the first century, Christianity immediately spread from being Jewish to embracing Greeks, Ethiopians and any one else that expressed an interest, this is a natural phenomenon that can be seen everywhere. The Catholic Pope is nether Jewish, Greek, or Italian right now he’s of American Indian heritage! One might argue that Native spirituality cannot be compared to Christianity even though it is the chosen path of most Native Americans. Others would say that in the story of Christianity the Jews represented the good traditionalist, staying in line with the sacred ways. Nothing could be further from the truth because the Jewish tradition has always been open to the public. People all faiths continuously convert to Judaism and always have. It is not uncommon for a man to undergo a circumcision operation in the hopes of becoming admitted to Judaism. Like the Navajo they too are international, global citizens!

Like all paths to God, you’ll find a Catholic and Protestant versions of all of them. There are the purist fundamentalists, the spirit filled ones in rapture, as well as closet atheists who think they are spiritual because they are part of a religion. All of them play important roles as it truly takes all kinds!

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We are constantly reminded at our ceremonial functions of the strange circumstances of the changing world in which we live. There are a lot of misconceptions about spirituality in general and folks these days have allot of different motives for being involved. It is up to us that the coming generations not pollute indigenous ways by making them domesticated. This has been what has hurt the worlds greatest spiritual paths more than anything else. Domestication is warping our perception, the only thing we take with us beyond this life!

What makes Indigenous traditions, of any kind, so powerful is that they are wild and untamed. They access that part of the human psyche that is unmolested by industrialization.  It is ever important for the human race to hold on to the magic that is swiftly receding away from us. Many new age philosophies would disagree with this, but let me point out that they are a strictly domesticated variety of human beings. When any animal is domesticated, or even when wild animals are caged or subjected to routines, they tend to slip into neurotic behavior patterns, like living in a made up fantasy world.

Many do not realize that the Lakota Sun Dance is an international religion, for example. There has emerged many powerful medicine men and spiritual leaders representing Lakota traditions from the world over. Many people are against this (mostly nonspiritual people).  It is truly mysterious how the spirit moves, a person may acquire spirit helpers through association with a tradition, through marriage, by ordination and by birth. Sometimes it runs in the family as was the case with Daniel Dunglas Home and Carlos Mirabelli. There is also the case where someone is born with miraculous powers outside of spiritual tradition altogether.

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There are hundreds of cases of human foot prints fossilized in stone, any where from 1 million to 90 million years old, a testimony to the awesome mystery of human kind and what lurks deep within our human consciousness. Modern Indigenous American Spirituality is in constant flux as we our selves are redefined by what we know, and that goes for all of spirituality, everywhere!

Only the last remaining indigenous traditions of the world still have miraculous, seemingly impossible things as commonplace. Spiritual leaders of domestic religion, sadly, cannot begin to imagine the reality of  the aboriginal spiritual world (whats left of it).

ALTAR DESIGNS


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ALTAR DESIGNS

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Often people ask us about ritual protocol.  Why are things done a certain way?  What color prayer flags (robes) go in which direction?  There are very specific reasons for these details but most importantly know that the rules vary from one medicine person to another.  In addition to this each root family or tiospaye has specific rules. An altar design from Fools Crow would differ from that of Henry Crowdog.  The directional colors vary as well as some of the songs that are used.  Each Medicine Man or Woman receives from the Universe a vision.  The vision usually instructs the changes that should occur in the altar design.  although the changes maybe slight they are powerful symbols to the spirits that they call.  So that’s one reason why an altar design is different from another, they call different spirits.  Such a vision (of an altar) comes with a song.  That is why the Yuwipi or Lowampi ceremony have different altar songs.

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So when attending a different sweat lodge don’t expect that the songs you are used to will be sung.  One word may be changed, there may not be a drum or there might be a rattle ( wagmuha).  The sweat lodge door may face a different direction. Generally, as with the Sundance, it faces west to call the Wakinyan or Thunder Spirits ( Lakota ).  

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If you are encountering difficulty or any problematic situations you can most likely look no further than the altar to find the solution. An altar cluttered with crystals and unnecessary items is usually the root cause of strife in any ceremonial event. Do not allow participants to place unrelated objects upon the altar. What we want here is a flow directed by the spirits themselves, so without proper instruction, having nothing upon the altar would be far better than clutter!

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Oftentimes we will sponsor a sweat lodge with other Pipe carriers and or medicine people.  We will have to ask them, what color prayer flags (robes) do you want and in what direction?  Do you want a buffalo skull on the altar and which direction should it face, toward the lodge or the fire?  Should we make prayer ties and what color?  After we find out which way everything goes, you can find out the reasons why things are the way they are.  The leader should know all the answers to the directional colors their presiding animals, spirits, the altar design, the meanings of the songs as well as when and why they are sung. 

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An All Night Tipi Meeting may vary profoundly from one Roadman to another.  This is especially so because The native American Church is an inter-tribal religion.  There are two branches in general the Half Moon and the Cross Fire.  Each Roadman / Roadwoman facilitates the ceremony differently.  Usually it is understood that at a different fireplace or altar the form of the ritual will be different in a lot of ways, yet basically structurally the same.  Even the symbolism can have different explanations.

THE SPIRIT HELPERS

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