Posts Tagged With: Native American

As The Wheel Turns ~ Legends and Lore for September 4


Witchy Cat Graphics & Comments

As The Wheel Turns ~ Legends and Lore for September 4

 

 NOTE: Because of the large number of ancient calendars, many in simultaneous use, as well as different ways of computing holy days (marked by the annual inundation, the solar year, the lunar month, the rising of key stars, and other celestial and terrestrial events), you may find these holy days celebrated a few days earlier or later at your local temple.  

 

 Day of Dedication to the Sky Goddess Nut-Egyptian Sky Goddess and Mother of Isis. Spend some time outdoors gazing at clouds or stars.

 

 Native American: Changing Woman Ceremony – The Apache tribe in Arizona hold this rite-of-passage festival at sunrise. The ritual lasts four days, and marks the coming of age of a pubescent girl.

 

 At sunrise on this day, the Changing Woman Ceremony is held annually by the Native American tribe of the Apache in Arizona. The rite, which lasts for four consecutive days, marks the coming of age of a pubescent girl, who ritually transforms into the spirit-goddess known as Changing Woman and blesses all who are in attendance.

 

Rome: Ludi Romani begins, the great games honoring Jove/Jupiter (Zeus), continuing for two weeks.

 

 Greco/Roman: The Goddess month of Hesperis ends, named for the Hesperides Aegle, Arethusa, Erytheia, and Hesperia. These three nymphs guard and tend Juno/Hera’s garden high in the mountains. Hera planted a tree there from the golden apples of immortality which were presented to her by Gaia on her wedding to Zeus. Ladon also guards the garden, a dragon with a hundred heads. Only Heracles/Hercules was able to reach the garden and obtain the magic fruit, by tricking Atlas, the Hesperides’ father, into getting some of the apples for him, thus completing the 11th of the Twelve Labors assigned him by Hera/Juno in order to become fully a God of Olympus.

 

Catholicism: Feast day of St Laurence of Justinian, who had a vision at age 19, of “the Eternal Wisdom in the guise of a maiden encircled with light. She invited him to seek her with happiness, rather than satiate his baser lusts…” The mushroom, Agaricus campestris, is dedicated to this saint. Perhaps a mushroom-induced vision of the Goddess?

Born in 1905: Arthur Koestler, a Hungarian-born writer. Koestler had psychic experiences throughout his life, but maintained that he was not a psychic. Established The Koestler Foundation, which promotes research in parapsychology and other fields. Koestler left his entire estate to found a Chair of Parapsychology at Edinburgh University. Koestler’s best-know scientific publications from are ROOTS OF COINCIDENCE (1972), an attempt to provide ESP with a basis in quantum physics, and THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE (1973),

where he related his study of coincidences to the ‘synchronicity’ hypotheses of Carl Jung.”

 

1922: The Daily News (England) reported the fall of little toads from the sky, at Châlon-sur-Saône, France.

 

Greek: The fourth day of every month is sacred to the Goddess Aphrodite and the God Hermes.

 

Catholic Saint Days:

 

St. Hermione, a prophetess. One of the daughters of Philip the Deacon who is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. Martyred c.117 at Ephesus.

 

St. Ida of Herzfeld, who grew up in Charlemagne’s court, and was married to a Lord by arrangement of the Emperor. Her only child became a monk 

 

Aug 29 -Sep 11 – Return of Isis – Egyptian festival marking the return to Egypt of Goddess Isis (as the star of Sept/Sirius) and God Osiris (as the rising Nile River).

 

Aug 30 -Sep 10 -Ganesha Chaturthi – Hindu festival honoring God Ganesha (son of Goddess Parvati and God Shiva) as the challenger, creator and remover of obstacles.

 

Remember the ancient ways and keep them sacred!

)0(

 Live each Season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. ~Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

Courtesy of GrannyMoonsMorningFeast

 

About these ads
Categories: Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The Witches Almanac for Thursday, July 3, 2014

Witchy Cat Graphics & Comments

The Witches Almanac for Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thursday (Jupiter): Expansion, money, prosperity, and generosity.

 

Indian Sun Dance (Native American)

 

Waxing Moon

The Waxing Moon is the ideal time for magick to draw things toward you.

 

Moon Phase: First Quarter

 

Moon Sign: Virgo

Virgo: Favors accomplishment of details and commands from higher up. Focuses on health, hygiene, and daily schedules.

 

Incense: Carnation

 

Color: Crimson

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Month of Kerea – June 13 thru July 10

Rosea
June 13- July 10

 

13- Athena
14- Runic Half Month of Dag(day) Begins, Vidar(Son of the Norse God Odin), Minerva, Jagannath(A Benevolent Incarnation of the Indian God Vishnu), Lesser Quinquatras
15- Vestalia
16- Silver Chalice Day, Night of the Teardrop
17- Eurydice(Greek Tree Nymph/Underworld Goddess), Festival of Ludi Piscatori
18- Anna(Roman Goddess), Dragon Boat Festival
19- Day of All Heras
20- Midsummer Eve, Day of Cerridwen(Celtic Goddess of Fertility), Iron Skegge(Norse martyr)
21- Midsummer, Hera, Kupala(Russian Fertility Goddess)
22
23- The Green Man, Day of Cu Chulain
24- Fortuna, St. John’s Eve, Burning of the Lamps, Old Midsummer
25- Parvati(Indian goddess0
26- Salavi(Native American Spruce Tree/Rain God), The Corn Mothers, The Kachinas
27- God of the Summer Sun(Native American, Plains Tribe), Anetophoria Festival, Initium Aetatis(Roman Festival for Aestas-The Summertime Goddess)
28- Hemera(Greek Goddess of Day), Runic New Years Eve
29- Runic Half Month of Feoh(wealth) Begins, Frey, Freyja, Papa Legba(Voodoo God of Crossroads), Bamming the Thorn, Runic New Year
30- Aestas(Roman Corn-Goddess of Summer), Ceres, Changing Woman(Native American), Chicomecoatl(Aztec), The Corn Mothers, Demeter, Gaia, Ge, Hestia, Iatiku, Oraea, Pachamama, Spider Woman(Native American), Tonantzin
1- The Nagas(Snake-Gods of Nepal), Fuji(Japanese Goddess of Fire)
2- All Pagan Gods and Goddesses who Preside over Birth and Fertility, Feast of Expectant Mothers
3- The Witch of Gaeta, Athena, Green Corn Dance, The Dog Days Begin.
4- Day of Pax, Lady Liberty, Gahan Ceremonial
5- Maat(Egyptian Goddess Of Wisdom and Inner Truth), Aphelion of the Earth
6- All Horned Goddesses, Running of the Bulls
7- Consualia Festival(Roman God of the Harvest), Caprotina(Goddess of the Fig Tree), Feriae Ancillarum(Festival of Handmaids)
8- Celtic Tree Month of Tinne(holly) Begins, Sunna(Norse Goddess of the Sun), Nones of Wild Rigs
9- Dionysus, Rhea, Panathenaea Begins
10- European Goddesses of the Underworld: Holda, Hela, Skadi, Day of Hel, Lady Godiva Day

Categories: The Goddess' Calendar | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Respecting and Honoring Yourself – and Your Religious Choices

Respecting and Honoring Yourself – and Your Religious Choices

Author:   nasionnaich   

How many of you have ever used religious rituals that are not your own? I have, and now that I have learned why I should not have, I deeply regret having used them. Oh, I don’t mean rituals that are a part of the culture of a place you are visiting, so you feel “obligated” to participate out of respect towards your host. I mean rituals that you have decided to incorporate into your own “brand” of religious belief and/or spirituality. You know, taking bits and pieces of something and using them in a way that “fits your style” — without proper instruction on the meaning behind the ritual (as well as where, when and how to do it) .

For more than 20 years, I have been learning about the various aspects of various religions, and trying to find my own particular Spiritual Path. I have never deliberately intended to be disrespectful towards any religion or spirituality — I have always had good intentions as my motive for learning. Well, I may have been disrespectful anyway, no matter the reason for doing it, no matter the “good intentions”.

A little history on one part of the subject may be in order — specifically, Native American Indian religious and spiritual rituals — as a way of actually illustrating what I intend to convey. I apologize in advance if any of it seems “disjointed” or “rambling”; I am not at all used to this essay-writing thing (I always had problems writing essays when I was in school, too) , so please, bear with me. (Just so you know, I am a “Native American”, I was born in “America” – but I am not a Native American Indian. Yes, there is a difference.)

Back when the Europeans first came to the Western Hemisphere, they found a number of very distinct Cultures and Peoples with rich traditions of their own, including complex religions and a deeply ingrained spirituality, which permeated the entire social structure of each region. Of course, being the “Good Christians” they were, those Europeans felt bound by their Duty towards their Church to change or eradicate what they didn’t like or understand. And they made no real efforts to truly understand what they didn’t like.

The Christian missionaries were usually the first to “study” the Native American Indian rituals, and they promptly decided that the rituals were “Satanic” in nature — most after having “studied” those rituals for less than one year. Fast-forward more than 500 years, and most Christian churches still have no true understanding of what the rituals really mean. (I place much of the blame on the Christian missionaries and anthropologists, who tend to “interpret” things strictly according to their Christian up-bringing…never mind what they actually see or are told.)

But there are many non-Christian groups (and individual Christians) who have realized that “Satan” has nothing to do with the Native American Indian rituals and spirituality, and have been working towards a full acceptance of the “Native American Church” — a loose conglomeration of religious practices and beliefs which happen to share a common set of central beliefs, but followers of which never called themselves a “church” prior to the 20th Century.

These “hippies”, as they were once known in the 1960s and 1970s, as a means of “promoting” Native American Indian spirituality decided on their own to selectively “adopt” Native American Indian religious and spiritual rituals, rarely fully understanding the meanings and the social importance of those rituals in what are very specific settings.

They learned the rituals from reading what the Christian missionaries and anthropologists wrote. I did, too, to a large extent. Later, I found how wrong many of those descriptions really are.

The Sun Dance, for example, is done only at certain times during the Summer months, and it is to help the men of the community know what it is like to give birth — they endure a great amount of pain and privation which most “White Men” can only imagine; it has little, if anything, to do with any so-called “sun worship”.

And the Sweat Lodge Ceremonies are for the Purification of those who are about to begin – or have recently completed – specific socially and spiritually important tasks — it isn’t just another fraternally-organized steam bath where you can get stoned out of your mind.

The Vision Quest is not what most people seem to think it is, either. These and other rituals have been taken up in a willy-nilly fashion by neo-Pagan and New Age groups and individuals (the “hippies” previously mentioned) because of some perceived need to “preserve” them, or because they “like” the rituals. Or much worse, out of a misguided attempt to “honor” Native American Indians.

They do not bother to truly consider how wrong it can be to do so, not thinking about how their own ancestors’ religious beliefs and rituals were corrupted by the very same piece-meal picking and choosing of whatever happened to be “popular” (or “pleasing”) at the time, nor how those rituals were wrongly “interpreted” by others. I doubt very much that the Druids of Ancient Ireland, for example, would have been pleased with a Roman follower of Jupiter “adopting” Druidic practices with no real thought to the actual meaning of those practices.

But the Native American Indians who still practice their religion are expected to accept the corruption and bastardization of their rituals, all in the name of “preserving” and “honoring” them.

As an example, I saw a photo of a “Burning Man” attendee wearing a “Native American spirit mask”, and at first didn’t think much of it — until I noticed that he was naked from the waist up (the photo was cropped just above his waist, so I have no idea what he was wearing below the waist – but I can guess) .

For one thing — and this is extremely important — the People who happen to use that style of mask do not go naked during their public rituals, not even from the waist up, so that was a huge tip-off that if the man was “honoring” the “Native American Church”, he either never received the instruction needed, or ignored what instruction he may have received and in either case was being extremely disrespectful…no matter what “good intentions” he may have had.

If there is no instruction concerning the rituals, they should not be used; there is no “But, I’m honoring such-and-such religion and/or group”. And, as any Judge will tell you concerning another subject: Ignorance is not an excuse, because there are many ways to obtain the necessary knowledge and instruction.

Native American Indian rituals are a sacred thing to the practitioners and Teachers of the Native American Indian religion, and they should be treated with the exact same respect, as you would demand of anyone towards your own religion. I have heard from many Pagans and Wiccans — as well as read here on WitchVox — that before anyone decides to use or take part in any ritual, those people should be instructed in the proper methods, times and places to do those rituals. And there are many Pagan and Wiccan rituals that are to be conducted only by Ordained Priests and Priestesses, not by just anyone who feels like using them.

Yet, again, there are many neo-Pagans and New Agers who feel it is somehow OK for anyone who wishes to just “adopt” whatever rituals they want, from wherever they want, and without having first gone through the necessary instruction on how, where and when to properly conduct those rituals….

Some religions may be OK with that, but most are not. It took me more than 20 years to fully realize this simple truth as it concerns the “Native American Church”, but if I had actually bothered to think about it when I began my “spiritual journey” (which, I admit, is still not completed) , I would have come to the same realization after first learning how truly Sacred certain rituals are to most religious groups.

So, why was it wrong to use certain rituals in my own “brand” of spirituality? Because I did not know what those rituals truly mean, which was because I had not received any real instruction as to how, when and where to use them. I was not authorized to use those rituals because I did not receive instruction from someone who was authorized to give that instruction.

I had no true respect for myself, because I had no true respect for my religious/spiritual choices.

Now that I have spent more than 20 years learning about and teaching myself the various aspects of “religion”, Native American Indian religion and spirituality included, I can only hope to help others in their own journeys towards a true Spiritual Awareness and respect for (and towards) themselves, as well as religious beliefs and practices they may someday wish to “adopt” (if not actually live by) .

We all want others to show some measure of respect towards our religious choices, and it is my opinion that the first step towards that is to truly respect other religions by making an honest attempt, doing everything within our means, to understand the rituals before we “adopt” any part of them.

Very few out-spoken Wiccans and Pagans, after all, would simply stand by and watch a “Fluffy-bunny” neo-Pagan or New Ager improperly conduct a Purification Ritual to cleanse their laptop computer — using a plastic drinking straw as a “wand”. (Hey, we all know what is meant by “Fluffy-bunny”) I don’t really understand why the improper use of Native American Indian rituals would — or should be allowed.

We gain respect for ourselves by respecting others, and we respect others by showing respect for and towards their religions by understanding the rituals involved in those religions.

So, I ask again, in all seriousness: How many of you have ever used religious rituals that are not your own?

–nasionnaich

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Look To Your Past

Look To Your Past

Author:   Oracle  

One of the most controversial stances today in the Neo-Pagan Community surrounds the adoption of Amerindian and other aboriginal ceremonies as authentic paths for those who are not of Amerindian or aboriginal descent. When Europeans first landed on the shores of North and South America en masse, the exotic and “unnatural” ways of these people may have struck a chord that resonated with some Europeans. At this time, Europeans were only familiar with Christianity, and all else was “of the devil.” Naturally some people who were beneficent towards the tribes may have eventually found themselves adopted and taught the path of whatever tribe adopted them. It eventually became a crime in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the United States of America tantamount to treason to “go Indian.” The fate of many tribes followed one of four courses:

1. Many tribes were wiped out.

2. Many that survived found themselves and their subsequent generations adopting “American ways” and indoctrinated with Christianity, also taking up “Christian names.”

3. Many fought and were relocated from their homelands to western deserts.

4. Many merely surrendered and tried to reconcile their own beliefs, integrating Christian doctrines into their own while attempting to maintain some sort of independence.

With the merger of the Hippie and New Age movements in the 1960’s within the States, many books began to be released on the market that introduced Eastern and pseudo-aboriginal concepts into the American spiritual scene. Naturally a new type of imperialism began taking place. In this new form of conquering, Amerindian Tribes found their spiritual teachings bastardized by “white culture, ” ironically at the same time that the Neo-Pagan movement was also budding.

Sadly, what was meant to be a Spiritual Renaissance for those of European descent instead became a fast track where modern American cultural norms (e.g. instant results, eclectic spirituality, and a dogmatic “I have a right to this” attitude) rooted in centuries of Christian imperialism gained a new avenue to glamorize and steal from Amerindian tribes what was not theirs. Terms like “Shaman” became new catch words to describe those that attended weekend seminars, wore crystals and painted their bodies.

Cloaked within the White Light of the New Age is the insult of ancient ancestors which are linked inexorably to the Tribes whose Elders are fighting to preserve the remains of their people; their homes having been taken, their languages lost and their people massacred in the name of the white man’s “progress.” With the 1993 Lakota Declaration of War against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality, the Tribal Elders of various Tribal cultures and Tribal religions have reinforced the closure of their doors. To force open the doors of another culture is a practice that is relegated to the inherent dominance of the Abrahamic faiths, not the Pagan.

Some of the justifications for cultural theft are:

Q: But what if I believe I was an Indian in my past life?
A: Sorry, but many Native American religions don’t incorporate reincarnation. Regardless if they did, that was a past life…it’s over and you have this one.

Q: But what if something speaks to me in that path?
A: You will find a parallel form in your own heritage. There are plenty of Reconstructionist paths available for those of European descent so that Wica is not the only option anymore (and, with a bit of research, never was) . There is Strix, Strega, Asatru, Druidry, Hermetic, Kemetic and more. These cultural religions and philosophies in the West are open for Europeans to journey and find meaning. It may be that what you are seeing may resonate with you because your ancestors performed something similar.

Q: But so-and-so said they were taught by Medicine people and, for a fee, will also teach me to help improve my life…is this wrong?
A: Unless they are a genuine Tribal Elder, I encourage you to do some research into your supposed “teacher.” Tribal Elders, if you are adopted and taught their ways (which take decades by the way) , never will charge a fee to teach. Many false shamans see the profits and none are ever shared with any Native American Communities.

Q: What if I feel “Indian” at heart?
A: By all means admire the beauty and culture of the Tribal people, but respect and courtesy should be given when it is not your heritage.

We Pagans should have different ethics in order to help build bridges. As an example, we as a Community have held the sins of the Church at its feet: murdering and killing many who were, rightly or falsely, accused of Witchcraft. We demanded the Church acknowledge its erroneous ways and beg pardon. This was done in 1999, and the late Pope John Paul II heard the cries of the wronged and declared a papal apology in 2000. As a reminder, the late Pope said:

“…Christians have often denied the Gospel; yielding to a mentality of power, they have violated the rights of ethnic groups and peoples, and shown contempt for their cultures and religious traditions…”

The Pagan Community cheered and clapped in the Pope’s response, and even more respect was garnered for the late Pope John Paul II.

Yet, here we are in 2010 and the Pagan Community has committed the same sins for the past 50 years. We observe Tribal Elders and spiritual leaders offer tobacco, asperge with sage and chant with feathers. We watch their masked ceremonies and listen to their singing, all the while believing we can adopt and adapt something we see without any inclination as to the “why” behind the rituals.

We build Medicine Wheels on our front lawn believing that we have a right to that heritage. We take pseudo-Indian names such as “Running Buffalo Horns” and think nothing of it. Sadly, and naively, we talk about the “Native American path, ” “Native American religion, ” and “Native American culture.” We talk about the beauty and purity of the “Native American belief system, ” like we are describing some new pet breed.

There is no such thing as “Native American culture, ” “Native American religion, ” and a “Native America path.” There are Native American cultures, Native American religions, and Native America paths. Each tribe differs greatly from one to the next.

In Neo-Paganism in general, ancestral veneration is not given any preeminence. Carl Jung’s idea of “archetypes” has neatly found itself in our Community so that we talk about “THE God” and “THE Goddess.” I find Dion Fortune oft-quoted, “All the Gods are One God, and all the Goddesses are One Goddess, and there is but One Initiator.” A lovely quote, but misplaced. Dion also emphasized that people should look to their own roots to find true occult virtue.

You see, Tribal Spiritualities are all about the Community over the Individual (unlike many solitary Western Neo-Pagan paths) , and the Mighty Spirits and Powers that are reverenced in Native American religions are deified Ancestral spirits. Rites, rituals, chants and dances are done to live out the mythos and deeds of that Tribes’ ancestors. If you are not of that blood, why are you reverencing ancestors that are not your own? Can it not be said that someone who steals part of a heritage that one has not been privy to is actually disrespecting the heritage you come from? Basically, you’re telling your own ancestors, “You’re not good enough for me.”

The Jungian view of archetypes has no place in Native American religions. They evolved along a different occult current and are rooted in land and ancestors, blood and bone. What does your own blood call to you? What do your bones sing?

We Pagans constantly talk about the sins of the Church, and how we should “harm none” (regardless if we’re Wiccan or not) and respect all life. Yet here we are stealing what is not ours, and not looking to our own ancestors for what our own blood and bones holds dear. Our own power lies in our heritage. Many say, “Well, what if I am Welsh, Greek, Italian and Spanish? Which is my path?” My response is: all of it. They are all Indo-European. In our modern society there is no excuse with the plethora of Native European Spiritualities why we should steal someone else’s heritage, which is not ours.

I encourage our Community to not be hypocritical and disrespect the ethnic cultures of the land we live on. I encourage our Community to have open dialogue and build bridges with the Native American tribes (and others) so that we can change the tide of our Imperialist past. If we truly believe in peace and respect, then we will do so by cultivating Wisdom, Integrity, Truth, Courage and Honor in our own lives.

I encourage everyone to look to our own past, beyond the past 2, 000 years of Christianity, and remember that we were once tribal and had a culture to speak of. Unlike the Amerindian Tribes, the Western Pagan faiths have their doors open so we can seek our Gods and Ancestors to reverence again.

May the Blessing of the Lord and Lady guide you upon the Starry Path of Enlightenment.

~Oracle~

____________________________________________

Footnotes:
Sources:
http://www.newagefraud.org/. Retrieved April 19, 2010.

Brown, Michael F. “Who Owns Native Culture?” Retrieved from http://www.williams.edu/go/native/index.htm

Orrin. “Seeking Native American Spirituality: Read This First!” Retrieved from http://www.native-languages.org/religion.htm.

Fortune, Dion. (2000) . The Training and Work of an Initiate. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.

Fortune, Dion. (2001) . What is Occultism? York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Categories: Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Respecting and Honoring Yourself – and Your Religious Choices

Respecting and Honoring Yourself – and Your Religious Choices

Author:   nasionnaich 

How many of you have ever used religious rituals that are not your own? I have, and now that I have learned why I should not have, I deeply regret having used them. Oh, I don’t mean rituals that are a part of the culture of a place you are visiting, so you feel “obligated” to participate out of respect towards your host. I mean rituals that you have decided to incorporate into your own “brand” of religious belief and/or spirituality. You know, taking bits and pieces of something and using them in a way that “fits your style” — without proper instruction on the meaning behind the ritual (as well as where, when and how to do it) .

For more than 20 years, I have been learning about the various aspects of various religions, and trying to find my own particular Spiritual Path. I have never deliberately intended to be disrespectful towards any religion or spirituality — I have always had good intentions as my motive for learning. Well, I may have been disrespectful anyway, no matter the reason for doing it, no matter the “good intentions”.

A little history on one part of the subject may be in order — specifically, Native American Indian religious and spiritual rituals — as a way of actually illustrating what I intend to convey. I apologize in advance if any of it seems “disjointed” or “rambling”; I am not at all used to this essay-writing thing (I always had problems writing essays when I was in school, too) , so please, bear with me. (Just so you know, I am a “Native American”, I was born in “America” – but I am not a Native American Indian. Yes, there is a difference.)

Back when the Europeans first came to the Western Hemisphere, they found a number of very distinct Cultures and Peoples with rich traditions of their own, including complex religions and a deeply ingrained spirituality, which permeated the entire social structure of each region. Of course, being the “Good Christians” they were, those Europeans felt bound by their Duty towards their Church to change or eradicate what they didn’t like or understand. And they made no real efforts to truly understand what they didn’t like.

The Christian missionaries were usually the first to “study” the Native American Indian rituals, and they promptly decided that the rituals were “Satanic” in nature — most after having “studied” those rituals for less than one year. Fast-forward more than 500 years, and most Christian churches still have no true understanding of what the rituals really mean. (I place much of the blame on the Christian missionaries and anthropologists, who tend to “interpret” things strictly according to their Christian up-bringing…never mind what they actually see or are told.)

But there are many non-Christian groups (and individual Christians) who have realized that “Satan” has nothing to do with the Native American Indian rituals and spirituality, and have been working towards a full acceptance of the “Native American Church” — a loose conglomeration of religious practices and beliefs which happen to share a common set of central beliefs, but followers of which never called themselves a “church” prior to the 20th Century.

These “hippies”, as they were once known in the 1960s and 1970s, as a means of “promoting” Native American Indian spirituality decided on their own to selectively “adopt” Native American Indian religious and spiritual rituals, rarely fully understanding the meanings and the social importance of those rituals in what are very specific settings.

They learned the rituals from reading what the Christian missionaries and anthropologists wrote. I did, too, to a large extent. Later, I found how wrong many of those descriptions really are.

The Sun Dance, for example, is done only at certain times during the Summer months, and it is to help the men of the community know what it is like to give birth — they endure a great amount of pain and privation which most “White Men” can only imagine; it has little, if anything, to do with any so-called “sun worship”.

And the Sweat Lodge Ceremonies are for the Purification of those who are about to begin – or have recently completed – specific socially and spiritually important tasks — it isn’t just another fraternally-organized steam bath where you can get stoned out of your mind.

The Vision Quest is not what most people seem to think it is, either. These and other rituals have been taken up in a willy-nilly fashion by neo-Pagan and New Age groups and individuals (the “hippies” previously mentioned) because of some perceived need to “preserve” them, or because they “like” the rituals. Or much worse, out of a misguided attempt to “honor” Native American Indians.

They do not bother to truly consider how wrong it can be to do so, not thinking about how their own ancestors’ religious beliefs and rituals were corrupted by the very same piece-meal picking and choosing of whatever happened to be “popular” (or “pleasing”) at the time, nor how those rituals were wrongly “interpreted” by others. I doubt very much that the Druids of Ancient Ireland, for example, would have been pleased with a Roman follower of Jupiter “adopting” Druidic practices with no real thought to the actual meaning of those practices.

But the Native American Indians who still practice their religion are expected to accept the corruption and bastardization of their rituals, all in the name of “preserving” and “honoring” them.

As an example, I saw a photo of a “Burning Man” attendee wearing a “Native American spirit mask”, and at first didn’t think much of it — until I noticed that he was naked from the waist up (the photo was cropped just above his waist, so I have no idea what he was wearing below the waist – but I can guess) .

For one thing — and this is extremely important — the People who happen to use that style of mask do not go naked during their public rituals, not even from the waist up, so that was a huge tip-off that if the man was “honoring” the “Native American Church”, he either never received the instruction needed, or ignored what instruction he may have received and in either case was being extremely disrespectful…no matter what “good intentions” he may have had.

If there is no instruction concerning the rituals, they should not be used; there is no “But, I’m honoring such-and-such religion and/or group”. And, as any Judge will tell you concerning another subject: Ignorance is not an excuse, because there are many ways to obtain the necessary knowledge and instruction.

Native American Indian rituals are a sacred thing to the practitioners and Teachers of the Native American Indian religion, and they should be treated with the exact same respect, as you would demand of anyone towards your own religion. I have heard from many Pagans and Wiccans — as well as read here on WitchVox — that before anyone decides to use or take part in any ritual, those people should be instructed in the proper methods, times and places to do those rituals. And there are many Pagan and Wiccan rituals that are to be conducted only by Ordained Priests and Priestesses, not by just anyone who feels like using them.

Yet, again, there are many neo-Pagans and New Agers who feel it is somehow OK for anyone who wishes to just “adopt” whatever rituals they want, from wherever they want, and without having first gone through the necessary instruction on how, where and when to properly conduct those rituals….

Some religions may be OK with that, but most are not. It took me more than 20 years to fully realize this simple truth as it concerns the “Native American Church”, but if I had actually bothered to think about it when I began my “spiritual journey” (which, I admit, is still not completed) , I would have come to the same realization after first learning how truly Sacred certain rituals are to most religious groups.

So, why was it wrong to use certain rituals in my own “brand” of spirituality? Because I did not know what those rituals truly mean, which was because I had not received any real instruction as to how, when and where to use them. I was not authorized to use those rituals because I did not receive instruction from someone who was authorized to give that instruction.

I had no true respect for myself, because I had no true respect for my religious/spiritual choices.

Now that I have spent more than 20 years learning about and teaching myself the various aspects of “religion”, Native American Indian religion and spirituality included, I can only hope to help others in their own journeys towards a true Spiritual Awareness and respect for (and towards) themselves, as well as religious beliefs and practices they may someday wish to “adopt” (if not actually live by) .

We all want others to show some measure of respect towards our religious choices, and it is my opinion that the first step towards that is to truly respect other religions by making an honest attempt, doing everything within our means, to understand the rituals before we “adopt” any part of them.

Very few out-spoken Wiccans and Pagans, after all, would simply stand by and watch a “Fluffy-bunny” neo-Pagan or New Ager improperly conduct a Purification Ritual to cleanse their laptop computer — using a plastic drinking straw as a “wand”. (Hey, we all know what is meant by “Fluffy-bunny”) I don’t really understand why the improper use of Native American Indian rituals would — or should be allowed.

We gain respect for ourselves by respecting others, and we respect others by showing respect for and towards their religions by understanding the rituals involved in those religions.

So, I ask again, in all seriousness: How many of you have ever used religious rituals that are not your own?

Enhanced by Zemanta
Categories: Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Respecting and Honoring Yourself – and Your Religious Choices

Respecting and Honoring Yourself – and Your Religious Choices

Author:   nasionnaich   

How many of you have ever used religious rituals that are not your own? I have, and now that I have learned why I should not have, I deeply regret having used them. Oh, I don’t mean rituals that are a part of the culture of a place you are visiting, so you feel “obligated” to participate out of respect towards your host. I mean rituals that you have decided to incorporate into your own “brand” of religious belief and/or spirituality. You know, taking bits and pieces of something and using them in a way that “fits your style” — without proper instruction on the meaning behind the ritual (as well as where, when and how to do it) .

For more than 20 years, I have been learning about the various aspects of various religions, and trying to find my own particular Spiritual Path. I have never deliberately intended to be disrespectful towards any religion or spirituality — I have always had good intentions as my motive for learning. Well, I may have been disrespectful anyway, no matter the reason for doing it, no matter the “good intentions”.

A little history on one part of the subject may be in order — specifically, Native American Indian religious and spiritual rituals — as a way of actually illustrating what I intend to convey. I apologize in advance if any of it seems “disjointed” or “rambling”; I am not at all used to this essay-writing thing (I always had problems writing essays when I was in school, too) , so please, bear with me. (Just so you know, I am a “Native American”, I was born in “America” – but I am not a Native American Indian. Yes, there is a difference.)

Back when the Europeans first came to the Western Hemisphere, they found a number of very distinct Cultures and Peoples with rich traditions of their own, including complex religions and a deeply ingrained spirituality, which permeated the entire social structure of each region. Of course, being the “Good Christians” they were, those Europeans felt bound by their Duty towards their Church to change or eradicate what they didn’t like or understand. And they made no real efforts to truly understand what they didn’t like.

The Christian missionaries were usually the first to “study” the Native American Indian rituals, and they promptly decided that the rituals were “Satanic” in nature — most after having “studied” those rituals for less than one year. Fast-forward more than 500 years, and most Christian churches still have no true understanding of what the rituals really mean. (I place much of the blame on the Christian missionaries and anthropologists, who tend to “interpret” things strictly according to their Christian up-bringing…never mind what they actually see or are told.)

But there are many non-Christian groups (and individual Christians) who have realized that “Satan” has nothing to do with the Native American Indian rituals and spirituality, and have been working towards a full acceptance of the “Native American Church” — a loose conglomeration of religious practices and beliefs which happen to share a common set of central beliefs, but followers of which never called themselves a “church” prior to the 20th Century.

These “hippies”, as they were once known in the 1960s and 1970s, as a means of “promoting” Native American Indian spirituality decided on their own to selectively “adopt” Native American Indian religious and spiritual rituals, rarely fully understanding the meanings and the social importance of those rituals in what are very specific settings.

They learned the rituals from reading what the Christian missionaries and anthropologists wrote. I did, too, to a large extent. Later, I found how wrong many of those descriptions really are.

The Sun Dance, for example, is done only at certain times during the Summer months, and it is to help the men of the community know what it is like to give birth — they endure a great amount of pain and privation which most “White Men” can only imagine; it has little, if anything, to do with any so-called “sun worship”.

And the Sweat Lodge Ceremonies are for the Purification of those who are about to begin – or have recently completed – specific socially and spiritually important tasks — it isn’t just another fraternally-organized steam bath where you can get stoned out of your mind.

The Vision Quest is not what most people seem to think it is, either. These and other rituals have been taken up in a willy-nilly fashion by neo-Pagan and New Age groups and individuals (the “hippies” previously mentioned) because of some perceived need to “preserve” them, or because they “like” the rituals. Or much worse, out of a misguided attempt to “honor” Native American Indians.

They do not bother to truly consider how wrong it can be to do so, not thinking about how their own ancestors’ religious beliefs and rituals were corrupted by the very same piece-meal picking and choosing of whatever happened to be “popular” (or “pleasing”) at the time, nor how those rituals were wrongly “interpreted” by others. I doubt very much that the Druids of Ancient Ireland, for example, would have been pleased with a Roman follower of Jupiter “adopting” Druidic practices with no real thought to the actual meaning of those practices.

But the Native American Indians who still practice their religion are expected to accept the corruption and bastardization of their rituals, all in the name of “preserving” and “honoring” them.

As an example, I saw a photo of a “Burning Man” attendee wearing a “Native American spirit mask”, and at first didn’t think much of it — until I noticed that he was naked from the waist up (the photo was cropped just above his waist, so I have no idea what he was wearing below the waist – but I can guess) .

For one thing — and this is extremely important — the People who happen to use that style of mask do not go naked during their public rituals, not even from the waist up, so that was a huge tip-off that if the man was “honoring” the “Native American Church”, he either never received the instruction needed, or ignored what instruction he may have received and in either case was being extremely disrespectful…no matter what “good intentions” he may have had.

If there is no instruction concerning the rituals, they should not be used; there is no “But, I’m honoring such-and-such religion and/or group”. And, as any Judge will tell you concerning another subject: Ignorance is not an excuse, because there are many ways to obtain the necessary knowledge and instruction.

Native American Indian rituals are a sacred thing to the practitioners and Teachers of the Native American Indian religion, and they should be treated with the exact same respect, as you would demand of anyone towards your own religion. I have heard from many Pagans and Wiccans — as well as read here on WitchVox — that before anyone decides to use or take part in any ritual, those people should be instructed in the proper methods, times and places to do those rituals. And there are many Pagan and Wiccan rituals that are to be conducted only by Ordained Priests and Priestesses, not by just anyone who feels like using them.

Yet, again, there are many neo-Pagans and New Agers who feel it is somehow OK for anyone who wishes to just “adopt” whatever rituals they want, from wherever they want, and without having first gone through the necessary instruction on how, where and when to properly conduct those rituals….

Some religions may be OK with that, but most are not. It took me more than 20 years to fully realize this simple truth as it concerns the “Native American Church”, but if I had actually bothered to think about it when I began my “spiritual journey” (which, I admit, is still not completed) , I would have come to the same realization after first learning how truly Sacred certain rituals are to most religious groups.

So, why was it wrong to use certain rituals in my own “brand” of spirituality? Because I did not know what those rituals truly mean, which was because I had not received any real instruction as to how, when and where to use them. I was not authorized to use those rituals because I did not receive instruction from someone who was authorized to give that instruction.

I had no true respect for myself, because I had no true respect for my religious/spiritual choices.

Now that I have spent more than 20 years learning about and teaching myself the various aspects of “religion”, Native American Indian religion and spirituality included, I can only hope to help others in their own journeys towards a true Spiritual Awareness and respect for (and towards) themselves, as well as religious beliefs and practices they may someday wish to “adopt” (if not actually live by) .

We all want others to show some measure of respect towards our religious choices, and it is my opinion that the first step towards that is to truly respect other religions by making an honest attempt, doing everything within our means, to understand the rituals before we “adopt” any part of them.

Very few out-spoken Wiccans and Pagans, after all, would simply stand by and watch a “Fluffy-bunny” neo-Pagan or New Ager improperly conduct a Purification Ritual to cleanse their laptop computer — using a plastic drinking straw as a “wand”. (Hey, we all know what is meant by “Fluffy-bunny”) I don’t really understand why the improper use of Native American Indian rituals would — or should be allowed.

We gain respect for ourselves by respecting others, and we respect others by showing respect for and towards their religions by understanding the rituals involved in those religions.

So, I ask again, in all seriousness: How many of you have ever used religious rituals that are not your own?

–nasionnaich

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Talk A Look At The Totem/Power Animal – Coyote

Coyote

The Coyote holds a most unique place in the legends and folklore of North American tribes. Although intimately associated with the Great Mystery in the very act of creation, his wily descendants are both pests and relentless competitors in the serious business of survival on the Earth Mother.

One of the tribes of Old California believed that the coyotes were the first humans who ever existed. In the beginning, of course, they walked on all fours. Then, gradually, they began to grow certain human body parts-a finger here, a toe there, an ear here. Over the course of generations, they eventually became perfect humans with beautiful tails. Although the tails were handsome, they slowly wore away through the human habit of sitting upright.

To another southwestern tribe, the coyote became an early, god-like savior of humankind. Originally, so goes the old legend, the Great Sun Chief had nine brothers, all flaming hot like himself. The native people down on Mother Earth were about to wither and die under the terrible heat of ten suns burning down on them. Brother Coyote, quickly assessing the situation and immediately perceiving the answer, leaped into the sky and slew the Sun Chief’s fiery brothers, thus saving the tribespeople from baking to a crisp.

However, this problem had no sooner been solved when Sister Moon’s nine sisters, each as cold as she, began to turn the night into a freezing torment. Once again, the tribespeople were helpless, for they had no way to keep warm, and they appealed to Brother Coyote to help them lest they perish.

Coyote had to have time to think, so he retreated to the far eastern edge of the world. After a time, the Great Mystery sent him an idea. Coyote picked up his flint knife and struck it against a rock. Sparks flew into some leaves, and almost before he knew it, he had created a fire. He took a few moments to warm his paws over the flames, then leaped into the sky and slew each of Sister Moon’s frigid sisters, thus saving humankind from freezing to death. But as an aid to their keeping warm on cold winter nights, Coyote gave the tribes the gift of fire.

So it was the coyote who gave humankind the knowledge of how to make fire, how to grind flour, and how to find the herbs that would bring about the quickest cures. But Brother Coyote has a very strange temperament-or maybe he didn’t think he received enough thanks for his gifts-for he is also a Trickster. True, he brought fire and food and healing herbs to humankind, but he also brought death. The tribespeople soon learned that when you ask such a creature to grant you a wish, you had better hope that there will not be some twist attached to it.

Medicine teachers Star-Spider Woman and Rattling Bear caution that if you must be foolish enough to ask Coyote a favor, at least be very precise in what you request.

The Navajo regard the coyote as the very essence, sign, and symbol of Dark Side witchcraft. If a Navajo were to set out on a journey and spot a coyote crossing his path, he would go home and wait for three days before setting out again. Borrowing the devil from the Christian missionaries, the Navajo believe that Satan uses the coyote as his steed on evil nocturnal missions.

If you have received the coyote as your totem animal, you must first remove all negative connotations from your mind about the creature being a representative of the Dark Side of spirit. The coyote is an exceedingly resourceful animal with amazing powers of adaptability. Listen carefully to your coyote totem guide, for it will teach you the fine line between wisdom and folly.

The coyote totem spirit may well have come to you because you, too, are a survivor, a person who knows how to adapt to any situation, good or bad. Ancient wisdom lies within the vibration of this spirit helper, but to gain its greatest spiritual treasures, you must truly pay very careful attention to the essence of each and every message that your guide relays to you. This totem animal will teach you discernment, one of the most valuable of all survival lessons on the earthplane.

Dreams

Your spirit helper may be preparing you for a death, a serious illness, or a dramatic change in your

family.

Totems

The Transformative Power Of Your Personal Animal Totem

Brad Steiger

ISBN 0-06-251425-3

——————————————————————–

The Coyote

For a long time humans have been attempting to shoot, poison and trap coyote into non-exsistence. Instead, birds like the Condor have been nearly wiped out with poisoned meat, and the clever coyote may be more numerous today than ever. Despite humanities encroachment and aggression, coyote has found a way to walk its walk and survive.

Coyotes usually mate for life. They live in the sides of hills or in underground dens where the family unit is well protected. They prefer open grassland and thinly wooded brush, but can adapt to almost any environment. Because of this they have been able to survive and grow in numbers.

I once heard a story about a female Coyote who got caught in a trap and gnawed off her own paw—twice. At last report she was doing fine, hobbling around on her two front stumps, and she had borne a healthy litter. Coyotes hunt small game not with speed, but by pouncing and snapping with their jaws. She was able to do this quite well and was fulfilling her role as a mother. Those with this medicine will go to extreme measures to protect and nurture family members. Words that rip and tear another to shreds should be avoided. Sporadic bursts of energy are common and balanced action is required for ones overall well being. Excellent caretakers coyote medicine people put other peoples needs before their own. Care is advised however to give to yourself equally.

In some native tribes the coyote is referred to as the trickster. I prefer to see the coyote as cunning and clever. There are many stories about the coyote. He is known as the great one and the foolish one. Coyote does not consciously try to trick us, he mirrors our own human capacity for displaying cleverness and stupidity.

Like the coyote we can work with others to get what we want in life, or we can dive into a lake to catch a reflection. We can send troubles away or invite them carelessly. When coyote wanders into your life you are being asked to look at something you have been avoiding. Coyote is our mirror for the lessons we need to learn in order to walk a good sacred road. It will hold up the mirror relentlessly until we finally get the picture.

Call on coyote as an ally for negotiating a difficult situation. Or thank him for coming and showing you a trap that you are caught in, or a way that you are fooling yourself. Coyote is an especially powerful teacher with regard to relationships because it is when we are in a relationship that we can fool ourselves the most. Coyote is not out there to get us, but to teach us, whether we want to learn or not.

Categories: Animal Guides/Totem Animals, Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,164 other followers