Oglala THE SUN DANCE

One desiring to dance the Sun Dance according to the customs of the Oglala as they were practised before contact with white people should choose an instructor to prepare him for the ceremony, who should teach him, in substance, as follows:–

The Sun Dance of the Oglala is a sacred ceremony which may be undertaken by any one of mankind, provided he or she:–

1. Undertakes it for a proper purpose.
2. Complies with the essentials for the ceremony.
3. Conforms to the customs of the Oglala.
4. Accepts the mythology of the Lakota.

The proper purposes for undertaking the Sun Dance are:–

1. To fulfill a vow.
2. To secure supernatural aid for another.
3. To secure supernatural aid for self.
4. To secure supernatural :powers for self.

The essentials for the ceremony are:–

1. The constituents.
2. The conditions.
3. The stages.
4. The time.

The constituents are:–

1. The dancers.
2. The Mentors.
3. The assistants.
4. The people.

The conditions are:–

1. Provision for the ceremony.
2. Preparation of the dancers.
3. Consecration of the equipment.
4. Establishment of a ceremonial camp

The stages are:–

1. Announcement of the candidacy.
2. Instruction of the Candidate.
3. Occupation of the ceremonial camp.
4. Dancing the Sun Dance.

The time is:–

1. When the buffalo are fat.
2. When new sprouts of sage are a span long.
3. When chokecherries are ripening.
4. When the Moon is rising as the Sun is going down.

Before beginning to dance the Sun Dance during the ceremony the Candidate must make an acceptable offering to the Sun and have a wound that will cause his blood to flow while he dances. If he dances the Sun Dance to its completion, he may expect a vision in which he may receive a communication from the Sun.

All the requirements and rites pertaining to this ceremony are based upon the Mythology of the Lakota and they must be supervised by a Shaman. A Shaman must control the ceremonial camp and conduct all the ceremonies pertaining to the Sun Dance that take place there, except the dance, which should be conducted by the leader of the dance. This dance may take either of the four forms, which are:–

1. Gaze-at-Sun.
2. Gaze-at-Sun Buffalo.
3. Gaze-at-Sun Staked.
4. Gaze-at-Sun Suspended.

The first is the simplest form and may be undertaken for either of the first three purposes enumerated above and performed with a scant compliance with the essentials, though the Candidate must comply with them to the best of his ability. It should be danced only when one or more of the other forms are danced. It must begin with the first song of the Sun Dance and continue during four songs, though it may continue during as many more songs as the dancer pleases. For this form, any offering may be made to the Sun, but it should he of as much value as the Candidate can afford. The wound to cause the blood to flow must not be smaller than that made by cutting away a bit of skin as large as a louse and it may be as large and deep as the Candidate wills to have it made. Women and children may dance the first form, because there are no tortures inflicted during the dance. Those who have danced the Sun Dance on a former occasion may again dance this form, provided they first make an offering to the Sun and cause the blood to flow from wounds on their persons. Such dancers may begin the dance at any time during the dance by others and may dance for as many songs as they choose.

The second, third, and fourth forms each differ from the others, only in the manner of the wounds to cause the flow of blood and the torture inflicted during the dance; but the wounds and tortures for each form should be made alike for each dancer of that form. One may undertake either of these three forms for either of the first three purposes; but one who undertakes to dance for the fourth purpose must dance the fourth form. The torture inflicted in the fourth form, may be, either figuratively or actually, suspending the dancer while he dances. If the dancer is dancing for the purpose of securing the supernatural powers that Shamans should have, he must dance the fourth form actually suspended. A dance thus performed is the Sun Dance in its fullest form which includes most of the: Mythology and much of the customs of the Oglala. One who dances the Sun Dance in its fullest form establishes before the Sun, and in the presence of the people, his possession of the four great virtues, which are:–

1. Bravery.
2. Generosity.
3. Fortitude.
4. Integrity.

One who possesses these four virtues should be respected and honored by all the people. Thus, the scars made by the wounds and tortures inflicted during the Sun Dance are honorable insignia.

One who contemplates dancing the Sun Dance should know these things: and carefully consider the compliance with the essentials for the performance of the ceremony, for it is done for the benefit of both the dancer and the people. He should endeavor to know whether the people deem his virtues sufficient to enable him to dance the Sun Dance to its completion or not;. for, if they think he lacks in one or all of the great virtues, they probably will not become constituents, and he cannot have the ceremony performed.

The Sun Dance is a feastal ceremony and provision must The made for feasts that are rites and are to be given by the Candidate, his kindred, and his band, for all these are honored by the performance of the ceremony. Therefore, while it is expected that a Candidate will give all his; possessions in making provision for the feasts, his kindred and his friends should also give liberally; indeed, the entire band should contribute for both feasts and presents. A Candidate must give presents to his Mentor and attendant and should give to all the assistants and those who take an active part in the rites of the ceremony. He must provide the equipment necessary for the occasion, and make acceptable offerings to the Sun. If he cannot comply with these conditions in an abundant manner, he should undertake only the first form of the dance, and then little will be expected of him or his people. If he thinks he can make suitable provision, he may proceed.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/nam/pla/sdo/sdo03.htm

31 Long-Forgotten Native American Medical Cures

When it comes to herbal remedies, many of us are familiar with the benefits of Echinacea or purple cone flower as an antibiotic, willow bark as a pain killer and aloe as a topical anesthetic and treatment for skin conditions. But that’s common knowledge compared to the insights and treatments that Native American medicine men discovered and used.

Native American medicine men developed a wheel very similar to the yin/yang of Asian medicine. The use of herbal remedies and other alternative forms of treatment was the cutting-edge medicine of their day. This was a holistic approach to medical treatment that relied heavily on plants and their unique benefits.

What follows is list of indigenous plants, trees, fruits and flowers unique to North America that have surprising benefits as defined by Native American tribes. If and when times are tough, it might be good to keep some of these ancient cures in mind. They also are good for everyday needs when you consider how effective some of them can be.

Licorice tea for a sore throat is a good example. It’s also interesting that many of these natural cures are still in use today, including beeswax and bee pollen, chamomile and others. It’s a good demonstration of the benefit of wisdom developed over centuries.

The Hidden Secrets Of Making Herbal Medicines…Right At Your Fingertips!

It’s hard to know how Native Americans determined which plants might have medicinal properties, although trial and error was probably one approach. It’s also thought that they observed sick animals eating certain plants and determined that those plants must have a certain property worth exploring.  Since that time,scientific studies have verified the medicinal value of many plants. In fact, common aspirin is derived from salicin, a chemical in the inner bark of willow trees that was used in ancient times for fever and pain.

These medicines were usually administered via teas or pastes that were either ingested or applied externally. Sometimes the plants were eaten as food or added to food or water. On occasion, a salve or poultice was applied to open wounds. I would strongly recommend that you avoid the latter, given the risk of infection from wild sources.

I’ve omitted many of the natural remedies. There was a use for mistletoe that I came across, but mistletoe is essentially poisonous and if not used properly the results could be counter-productive, if not deadly.

I’ve also found a great deal of redundancy. It seems like everything is good for a cough or diarrhea. Rather than endlessly list plants that cure the same conditions over and over, I’ve tried to isolate this grouping to the most prevalent plants that you may find and recognize. As always, if you are pregnant, check with your doctor and do plenty of research before using any of these.

Here’s the list:

1. Alfalfa: Relieves digestion and is used to aid blood clotting. Contemporary uses included treatment of arthritis, bladder and kidney conditions and bone strength. Enhances the immune system.


3. Aspen
: The inner bark or xylem is used in a tea to treat fever, coughs and pain. It contains salicin, which also is found in willow trees and is the foundation ingredient for aspirin.

2. Aloe: A cactus-like plant. The thick leaves can be squeezed to extrude a thick sap that can be used to treat burns, insect bites and wounds.

4. Bee pollen: When mixed with food it can boost energy, aid digestion and enhance the immune system. If you’re allergic to bee stings you will most likely be allergic to bee pollen.

5. Beeswax: Used as a salve for burns and insect bites, including bee stings. Intended to only be used externally.

6. Blackberry: The root, bark and leaves when crushed and infused in a tea are used to treat diarrhea, reduce inflammation and stimulate the metabolism. As a gargle it treats sore throats, mouth ulcers and inflammation of the gums.

7. Black Raspberry: The roots of this plant are crushed and used as a tea or boiled and chewed to relieve coughs, diarrhea and general intestinal distress.

8. Buckwheat: The seeds are used in soups and as porridge to lower blood pressure, help with blood clotting and relieve diarrhea.

9. Cayenne: The pods are used as a pain reliever when taken with food or drunk in a tea. Also used to threat arthritis and digestive distress. It is sometimes applied to wounds as a powder to increase blood flow and act as an antiseptic and anesthetic to numb the pain.

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10. Chamomile: The leaves and flowers are used as a tea to treat intestinal problems and nausea.

11. Chokecherry: Considered by Native American tribes as an all-purpose medicinal treatment, the berries were pitted, dried and crushed into a tea or a poultice to treat a variety of ailments. These include coughs, colds, flu, nausea, inflammation and diarrhea. As a salve or poultice it is used to treat burns and wounds. The pit of the chokecherry – much like apple seeds – are poisonous in high concentrations. Be sure to pit the cherries if you’re considering this for any use.

13. Eucalyptus: The oil from the leaves and roots is a common treatment when infused in a tea to treat coughs, sore-throat, flu and fever. It’s used to this day as an ingredient in cough drops.

12. Echinacea: Also known as purple coneflower, this is a classic Native American medicine that is used to strengthen the immune system, fight infections and fever. It also is used as an antiseptic and general treatment for colds, coughs and flu.

14. Fennel: A plant with a licorice flavor, this is used in a tea or chewed to relieve coughs, sore-throat, aid digestion, offer relief to diarrhea and was a general treatment for colds. It also is used as a poultice for eye relief and headaches.

15. Feverfew: Used to this day as a natural relief for fever and headaches – including severe headaches like migraines – it also can be used for digestive problems, asthma and muscle and joint pains.

16. Feverwort: Another fever remedy that also is used for general pain, itching and joint stiffness. It can be ingested as a tea or chewed, or crushed to a paste as a salve or poultice.

17. Ginger root: Another super plant in Native American medicine, the root was crushed and consumed with food, as a tea or a salve or poultice. Known to this day for its ability to aid digestive health, it also is anti-inflammatory, aids circulation and can relieve colds, coughs and flu, in addition to bronchitis and joint pain.

18. Ginseng: This is another contemporary herb that has a history that goes back across cultures for millennia. The roots were used by Native Americans as a food additive, a tea and a poultice to treat fatigue, boost energy, enhance the immune system and help with overall liver and lung function. The leaves and stems also were used, but the root has the most concentration of active ingredients.

19. Goldenrod: Commonly thought of today as a source of allergies and sneezing, it was actually considered another all-in-one medicine by Native Americans. As a tea, an addition to food and a topical salve, it is used to treat conditions from bronchitis and chest congestion to colds, flu, inflammation, sore throats and as an antiseptic for cuts and abrasions.

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20. Honeysuckle: The berries, stems, flowers and leaves are used to topically treat bee stings and skin infections. As a tea, it is used to treat colds, headaches and sore throat. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

21. Hops: As a tea it is used to treat digestive problems and often mixed with other herbs or plants, such as aloe, to soothe muscles. It also is used to soothe toothaches and sore throat.

22. Licorice: Roots and leaves can be used for coughs, colds, sore throats. The root also can be chewed to relieve toothaches.

23. Mullein: As an infusion in tea or added to a salad or other food, this is a plant that has been used by Native Americans to treat inflammation, coughs and congestion and general lung afflictions. It is quite common and you probably have it growing in your backyard or somewhere close.

24. Passion flower: The leaves and roots are used to make a tea to treat anxiety and muscle pain. A poultice for injuries to the skin such as burns, insect bites and boils also can be made from passion flower.

25. Red clover: It grows everywhere and the flowers, leaves and roots are usually infused in a tea or are used to top food. It is used to manage inflammation, improve circulation and treat respiratory conditions.

26. Rose hip: This is the red to orange berry that is the fruit of wild roses. It is already known to be a massive source of vitamin C and when eaten whole, crushed into a tea or added to food it is used to treat colds and coughs, intestinal distress, as an antiseptic and to treat inflammation.

27. Rosemary: A member of the pine family and used in food and as a tea to treat muscle pain, improve circulation and as a general cleanser for the metabolism.

28. Sage: A far-reaching shrub across much of North America, it is a natural insect repellent and can be used for the standard list of digestive disorders, colds and sore throat.

29. Spearmint: Used consistently by Native American tribes for treatment of coughs, colds, respiratory distress and as a cure for diarrhea and a stimulant for blood circulation.

30. Valerian: The root as an infusion in a tea relieves muscle aches, pain and is said to have a calming effect.

31. White Pine: Ubiquitous and the needles and the inner bark can be infused in a tea. Used as a standard treatment for respiratory distress and chest congestion.

http://www.offthegridnews.com/alternative-health/31-long-forgotten-native-american-medical-cures/

Transcript of Navajo Traditions

Transcript of Navajo Traditions

Navajo Traditions
1.) Navajo have a special tradition in weaving.caring for the sheep that provide the wool to weave is a chore. When the women weave they pass down their traditions and beliefs to their younge.
2.) The navajo are known for their ceremonies. Navajo have nine day ceremonies for ills, mental and physical.Amost everything they do including, planting crops, building shelters etc is a ceremony to them.
3.) In the Navajo Nation between the ages of 16 and 18, the children have a coming of age ceremony to represent the passage of being a child to becoming an adult.
4.) The Navajo people have anual fairs. The Navajo fairs are the largest native american fairs in the united states. Rodeos are always a favorite with these events.
5.) The medicine man plays a major part in the navajo culture. The medicine man holds great honor and respect for the tribe members. The medicine man has knowledge of the heritage and culture.
6.) The burying of the umbilical cord is buried near the hogan. Its a transition of the nourishment by the natural mother to a spiritual mother.
7.) In the Navajo Culture it is a tradition to have the churro sheep around. They are central to the Navajo life. The type of sheep has helped the navajo survive and they even have a special song about the breed.
8.) Waiting for a baby’s first laugh is a big navajo tradition.A sign of a happy giggle means the baby has a desire to join its earth family.
9.) Navajos have a tradition of running in the morning. ” When the sun comes up, the gods come up, so we run to greet the gods in the morning”.
10.) The Navajos have a tradition of using a sweat lodge. It is used to help heal you either physically or mentally. Some say it helps you see certain things in your future.
https://prezi.com/uruhzzggnrql/navajo-traditions/

Chumash Elder Feeds the Sacred Fire

Profile: Art Cisneros

Art Cisneros is a Chumash elder and firekeeper. He is of Chumash descent on his mother’s side and Mexican descent on his father’s. Though his roots in Santa Barbara County go back tens of thousands of years, Cisneros isn’t focused on the past but rather on the present and the future. Technically retired, he works passionately to unite humanity in caring for “our Mom”: planet Earth. Striving to live up to his Chumash name, “Earth Man with a Good Heart,” he holds fire ceremonies and tells about our need to heal our relationships with ourselves, the Earth, and each other.

It is Cisneros who builds and tends the fire that burns on Santa Cruz Island (Limuw, as the Chumash call it) during the tribe’s annual tomol crossing of the Santa Barbara Channel. He also holds regular fire ceremonies at his home in Goleta and presides over other community fire ceremonies, such as the solstice celebrations at the Ojai Foundation. As firekeeper, his attention is not just on the physical fire crackling in the pit but also on “the spark in each person’s heart” around the fire.

“Ceremonies are for healing,” he said, “so I create a space in which people can offer their pain and problems to the fire to be transmuted into smoke, which rises to the Creator.” He makes this space by telling stories — his own and stories from the many teachers with whom he’s studied — so that people feel comfortable in sharing their own experiences. He gently reminds them that at least part of their pain is the result of having forgotten whom they are and who they belong to — our Mother, the Earth.

“Human beings are interdependent with all beings for our existence,” he explained. “Our world today is out of balance because we have forgotten our responsibility as caretakers. We have forgotten to love one another unconditionally as children of the same Mother. We have forgotten that everything was given to everyone to share and that the greatest of us is responsible for the least of us.

“All people were given instructions to keep peace and harmony: humbly ask permission; pray and offer tribute for everything that we need and use; and give back through our good thoughts, words, and actions [in] our love for our Mother Earth and one another. This keeps the balance of energy and promotes peace and harmony, health and happiness. When we take without permission, or hurt each other; we create disharmony and disease. We hurt our Mother.”

Cisneros believes that the time is now for all of us to begin the process of restoring the balance of energy. “We can heal each and the world through our willingness to share what we hold as material wealth and what we hold in our heart as love, kindness, compassion, and generosity,” he said.

“This is the hardest part of my work: getting people to realize that they have the power to reverse the chaos of our times simply by asking permission of the Earth; taking only what we need; giving thanks; and sharing what we have.”

It’s a message he speaks wherever he goes. He serves on the boards of the Sacred Earth Foundation and the Tribal Trust Foundation, where he opens each meeting with prayer, thanking the Creator for bringing the board together. He brings indigenous elders from other parts of the world to Santa Barbara, “because these people are the ones who are praying for the Earth and keeping the energies in balance. They need our support and acknowledgement.” He is also working with a group of nonprofits to protect a piece of the Gaviota Coast — the site of the original Dos Pueblos — to be used for learning, healing, and ceremony.

“We’re each an integral part of the whole,” he said. “If you’re not healthy, the world can’t be healthy. And if you are healthy — in body, mind, and spirit — you’re really helping to heal the whole world. This is what I try to share with people.”

What else could an Earth Man with a Good Heart do?

http://www.independent.com/news/2014/feb/06/profile-art-cisneros/

What A Shaman Sees In A Mental Hospital

The Shamanic View of Mental Illness

In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé. Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.

What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm. “Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field,” says Dr. Somé. These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.

One of the things Dr. Somé encountered when he first came to the United States in 1980 for graduate study was how this country deals with mental illness. When a fellow student was sent to a mental institute due to “nervous depression,” Dr. Somé went to visit him.

“I was so shocked. That was the first time I was brought face to face with what is done here to people exhibiting the same symptoms I’ve seen in my village.” What struck Dr. Somé was that the attention given to such symptoms was based on pathology, on the idea that the condition is something that needs to stop. This was in complete opposition to the way his culture views such a situation. As he looked around the stark ward at the patients, some in straitjackets, some zoned out on medications, others screaming, he observed to himself, “So this is how the healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture. What a loss! What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with a power from the other world is just being wasted.”

Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world. In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated. When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening. The result can be terrifying. Without the proper context for and assistance in dealing with the breakthrough from another level of reality, for all practical purposes, the person is insane. Heavy dosing with anti-psychotic drugs compounds the problem and prevents the integration that could lead to soul development and growth in the individual who has received these energies.

On the mental ward, Dr Somé saw a lot of “beings” hanging around the patients, “entities” that are invisible to most people but that shamans and psychics are able to see. “They were causing the crisis in these people,” he says. It appeared to him that these beings were trying to get the medications and their effects out of the bodies of the people the beings were trying to merge with, and were increasing the patients’ pain in the process. “The beings were acting almost like some kind of excavator in the energy field of people. They were really fierce about that. The people they were doing that to were just screaming and yelling,” he said. He couldn’t stay in that environment and had to leave.

In the Dagara tradition, the community helps the person reconcile the energies of both worlds–”the world of the spirit that he or she is merged with, and the village and community.” That person is able then to serve as a bridge between the worlds and help the living with information and healing they need. Thus, the spiritual crisis ends with the birth of another healer. “The other world’s relationship with our world is one of sponsorship,” Dr. Somé explains.“More often than not, the knowledge and skills that arise from this kind of merger are a knowledge or a skill that is provided directly from the other world.”

The beings who were increasing the pain of the inmates on the mental hospital ward were actually attempting to merge with the inmates in order to get messages through to this world. The people they had chosen to merge with were getting no assistance in learning how to be a bridge between the worlds and the beings’ attempts to merge were thwarted. The result was the sustaining of the initial disorder of energy and the aborting of the birth of a healer.

“The Western culture has consistently ignored the birth of the healer,” states Dr. Somé. “Consequently, there will be a tendency from the other world to keep trying as many people as possible in an attempt to get somebody’s attention. They have to try harder.” The spirits are drawn to people whose senses have not been anesthetized. “The sensitivity is pretty much read as an invitation to come in,” he notes.

Those who develop so-called mental disorders are those who are sensitive, which is viewed in Western culture as oversensitivity. Indigenous cultures don’t see it that way and, as a result, sensitive people don’t experience themselves as overly sensitive. In the West, “it is the overload of the culture they’re in that is just wrecking them,” observes Dr. Somé. The frenetic pace, the bombardment of the senses, and the violent energy that characterize Western culture can overwhelm sensitive people.

SCHIZOPHRENIA AND FOREIGN ENERGY

With schizophrenia, there is a special “receptivity to a flow of images and information, which cannot be controlled,” stated Dr. Somé. “When this kind of rush occurs at a time that is not personally chosen, and particularly when it comes with images that are scary and contradictory, the person goes into a frenzy.”

What is required in this situation is first to separate the person’s energy from the extraneous foreign energies, by using shamanic practice (what is known as a “sweep”) to clear the latter out of the individual’s aura. With the clearing of their energy field, the person no longer picks up a flood of information and so no longer has a reason to be scared and disturbed, explains Dr. Somé.

Then it is possible to help the person align with the energy of the spirit being attempting to come through from the other world and give birth to the healer. The blockage of that emergence is what creates problems. “The energy of the healer is a high-voltage energy,” he observes. “When it is blocked, it just burns up the person. It’s like a short-circuit. Fuses are blowing. This is why it can be really scary, and I understand why this culture prefers to confine these people. Here they are yelling and screaming, and they’re put into a straitjacket. That’s a sad image.”Again, the shamanic approach is to work on aligning the energies so there is no blockage, “fuses” aren’t blowing, and the person can become the healer they are meant to be.

It needs to be noted at this point, however, that not all of the spirit beings that enter a person’s energetic field are there for the purposes of promoting healing. There are negative energies as well, which are undesirable presences in the aura. In those cases, the shamanic approach is to remove them from the aura, rather than work to align the discordant energies

ALEX: CRAZY IN THE USA, HEALER IN AFRICA

To test his belief that the shamanic view of mental illness holds true in the Western world as well as in indigenous cultures, Dr. Somé took a mental patient back to Africa with him, to his village. “I was prompted by my own curiosity to find out whether there’s truth in the universality that mental illness could be connected with an alignment with a being from another world,” says Dr. Somé.

Alex was an 18-year-old American who had suffered a psychotic break when he was 14. He had hallucinations, was suicidal, and went through cycles of dangerously severe depression. He was in a mental hospital and had been given a lot of drugs, but nothing was helping. “The parents had done everything–unsuccessfully,” says Dr. Somé. “They didn’t know what else to do.”

With their permission, Dr. Somé took their son to Africa. “After eight months there, Alex had become quite normal, Dr. Somé reports. He was even able to participate with healers in the business of healing; sitting with them all day long and helping them, assisting them in what they were doing with their clients . . . . He spent about four years in my village.” Alex stayed by choice, not because he needed more healing. He felt, “much safer in the village than in America.”

To bring his energy and that of the being from the spiritual realm into alignment, Alex went through a shamanic ritual designed for that purpose, although it was slightly different from the one used with the Dagara people.“He wasn’t born in the village, so something else applied. But the result was similar, even though the ritual was not literally the same,” explains Dr. Somé. The fact that aligning the energy worked to heal Alex demonstrated to Dr. Somé that the connection between other beings and mental illness is indeed universal.

After the ritual, Alex began to share the messages that the spirit being had for this world. Unfortunately, the people he was talking to didn’t speak English (Dr. Somé was away at that point). The whole experience led, however, to Alex’s going to college to study psychology. He returned to the United States after four years because “he discovered that all the things that he needed to do had been done, and he could then move on with his life.”

The last that Dr. Somé heard was that Alex was in graduate school in psychology at Harvard. No one had thought he would ever be able to complete undergraduate studies, much less get an advanced degree.

Dr. Somé sums up what Alex’s mental illness was all about: “He was reaching out. It was an emergency call. His job and his purpose was to be a healer. He said no one was paying attention to that.”

After seeing how well the shamanic approach worked for Alex, Dr. Somé concluded that spirit beings are just as much an issue in the West as in his community in Africa. “Yet the question still remains, the answer to this problem must be found here, instead of having to go all the way overseas to seek the answer. There has to be a way in which a little bit of attention beyond the pathology of this whole experience leads to the possibility of coming up with the proper ritual to help people.

LONGING FOR SPIRITUAL CONNECTION

A common thread that Dr. Somé has noticed in “mental” disorders in the West is “a very ancient ancestral energy that has been placed in stasis, that finally is coming out in the person.” His job then is to trace it back, to go back in time to discover what that spirit is. In most cases, the spirit is connected to nature, especially with mountains or big rivers, he says.

In the case of mountains, as an example to explain the phenomenon, “it’s a spirit of the mountain that is walking side by side with the person and, as a result, creating a time-space distortion that is affecting the person caught in it.” What is needed is a merger or alignment of the two energies, “so the person and the mountain spirit become one.” Again, the shaman conducts a specific ritual to bring about this alignment.

Dr. Somé believes that he encounters this situation so often in the United States because “most of the fabric of this country is made up of the energy of the machine, and the result of that is the disconnection and the severing of the past. You can run from the past, but you can’t hide from it.”The ancestral spirit of the natural world comes visiting. “It’s not so much what the spirit wants as it is what the person wants,” he says. “The spirit sees in us a call for something grand, something that will make life meaningful, and so the spirit is responding to that.”

That call, which we don’t even know we are making, reflects “a strong longing for a profound connection, a connection that transcends materialism and possession of things and moves into a tangible cosmic dimension. Most of this longing is unconscious, but for spirits, conscious or unconscious doesn’t make any difference.” They respond to either.

As part of the ritual to merge the mountain and human energy, those who are receiving the“mountain energy” are sent to a mountain area of their choice, where they pick up a stone that calls to them. They bring that stone back for the rest of the ritual and then keep it as a companion; some even carry it around with them. “The presence of the stone does a lot in tuning the perceptive ability of the person,” notes Dr. Somé. “They receive all kinds of information that they can make use of, so it’s like they get some tangible guidance from the other world as to how to live their life.”

When it is the “river energy,” those being called go to the river and, after speaking to the river spirit, find a water stone to bring back for the same kind of ritual as with the mountain spirit.

“People think something extraordinary must be done in an extraordinary situation like this,” he says. That’s not usually the case. Sometimes it is as simple as carrying a stone.

A SACRED RITUAL APPROACH TO MENTAL ILLNESS

One of the gifts a shaman can bring to the Western world is to help people rediscover ritual, which is so sadly lacking. “The abandonment of ritual can be devastating. From the spiritual view, ritual is inevitable and necessary if one is to live,” Dr. Somé writes in Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community. “To say that ritual is needed in the industrialized world is an understatement. We have seen in my own people that it is probably impossible to live a sane life without it.”

Dr. Somé did not feel that the rituals from his traditional village could simply be transferred to the West, so over his years of shamanic work here, he has designed rituals that meet the very different needs of this culture. Although the rituals change according to the individual or the group involved, he finds that there is a need for certain rituals in general.

One of these involves helping people discover that their distress is coming from the fact that they are“called by beings from the other world to cooperate with them in doing healing work.” Ritual allows them to move out of the distress and accept that calling.

Another ritual need relates to initiation. In indigenous cultures all over the world, young people are initiated into adulthood when they reach a certain age. The lack of such initiation in the West is part of the crisis that people are in here, says Dr. Somé. He urges communities to bring together “the creative juices of people who have had this kind of experience, in an attempt to come up with some kind of an alternative ritual that would at least begin to put a dent in this kind of crisis.”

Another ritual that repeatedly speaks to the needs of those coming to him for help entails making a bonfire, and then putting into the bonfire “items that are symbolic of issues carried inside the individuals . . . It might be the issues of anger and frustration against an ancestor who has left a legacy of murder and enslavement or anything, things that the descendant has to live with,” he explains. “If these are approached as things that are blocking the human imagination, the person’s life purpose, and even the person’s view of life as something that can improve, then it makes sense to begin thinking in terms of how to turn that blockage into a roadway that can lead to something more creative and more fulfilling.”

The example of issues with an ancestors touches on rituals designed by Dr. Somé that address a serious dysfunction in Western society and in the process“trigger enlightenment” in participants. These are ancestral rituals, and the dysfunction they are aimed at is the mass turning-of-the-back on ancestors. Some of the spirits trying to come through, as described earlier, may be“ancestors who want to merge with a descendant in an attempt to heal what they weren’t able to do while in their physical body.”

“Unless the relationship between the living and the dead is in balance, chaos ensues,” he says. “The Dagara believe that, if such an imbalance exists, it is the duty of the living to heal their ancestors. If these ancestors are not healed, their sick energy will haunt the souls and psyches of those who are responsible for helping them.” The rituals focus on healing the relationship with our ancestors, both specific issues of an individual ancestor and the larger cultural issues contained in our past. Dr. Somé has seen extraordinary healing occur at these rituals.

Taking a sacred ritual approach to mental illness rather than regarding the person as a pathological case gives the person affected–and indeed the community at large–the opportunity to begin looking at it from that vantage point too, which leads to “a whole plethora of opportunities and ritual initiative that can be very, very beneficial to everyone present,” states. Dr. Somé.

http://www.jbbardot.com/shaman-mental-hospital/

Africa Traditional Healers LUBOWA

Traditional Consultant MUWONGE HASSAN

He is born to the Ganda Tribe of East Africa’s Ugandaand is from the Ngabi Clan. He was guided by the spirits from an early age of three years to prepare him to be their medium to the present world. Through sensitizations, rituals and divination, he connects today’s world with the ancestors and spreads the message of the importance of spirits to the community. Muwonge, as a spiritual medium, is endowed with great powers which help in traditional healing techniques with emphasis in spiritual healing.

Traditional Doctor Nanziri Mai Nasimbwa

T/Dr Nanzirir Mai is a member of the Kobbe Clan from The Ganda Tribe in Uganda.   She lives in the townshipof Gombe sub county in Butambala District.  From an early age, learned the rituals entrusted to her family. Today she is helping her people reclaim their ancestral wisdom which had been watered down by several generations of colonization and missionary presence. Her particular emphasis is on the role of women in the spiritual welfare of the community.

Traditional Doctor Naiga Milly

Born to the Ngabi Clan of the Ganda Tribe, she has lived in culturally oriented society ever since her youth. She is the Chairperson of LUBOWA TRADITIONAL HEALERS ASSOCIATION. The teachings and prophecies she received from her grandparents, her personal experiences, and “Dreamtime” have made her a knowledgeable traditional spiritualist.

Traditional Doctor Kasule Bazirondere Umar

He has his origin from The Ngeye Clan of the Ganda Tribe in Uganda. Kasule began his training as an attendant of The African Spiritual Temple (Esabbo) at the age of three. He is currently known to be a medium to various spirits with the community. He is also The Vice Chairperson of LUTHA.

http://lutha.webs.com/reknownspiritualists.htm

People and Trees: Intimately Connected Through the Ages

Trees are considered sacred in many cultures. Tree worship, in one form or another, has been practiced almost universally by ancient peoples in every corner of the globe.

Trees Speak to the Soul of Human Beings

It is no wonder that trees have captured the human imagination since the beginning of time. Their strength, deeply rooted in the Earth, is an inspiration. Their trunk and branches are a wonder of nature because they stand sturdy and impenetrable most of the time, yet they can flex and sway with the wind when needed.

The whisper of a breeze in their leaves or the sight of ants marching in a straight line up or down their trunks remind us of the magic of nature that trees embody. They live for hundreds or even thousands of years, and so we revere them as keepers of past secrets and sentinels of the future.

Watching their cycles of growth, shedding of leaves, and re-flowering in the spring, people have long perceived trees as powerful symbols of life, death, and renewal. Since the beginning of time, humans have had a sense that trees are sentient beings just like us, that they can feel pain, that they bleed when they are hurt. Trees even look like us. People have a trunk; trees have arms. And so we innately feel a deep connection to them.

Many people say they can feel a tree’s vibrational energy when placing their hand upon its bark. With their deep roots, trees carry significant grounding energy. We naturally feel peace and serenity when walking in the shade of trees on a forest trail.

Trees Help Us Every Day

A recent study shows that trees remove so much pollution from the air that they “prevented 850 human deaths and 670,000 cases of acute respiratory symptoms in 2010 alone.” When an insect called the emerald ash borer killed off a significant number of trees in the American Midwest in the 1990’s and 2000’s, rates of human death from cardiovascular and respiratory illness increased.

More difficult to quantify is the psychological effect that trees have on people. People who spend time outdoors, or even those who have access to windows looking out at trees, have been shown to have better health than those who do not.

The Universal Tree of Life: Both Ancient and Modern

The concept of a Tree of Life, often symbolizing the connections between all life forms, is found in many religions and philosophies, dating back as early as ancient Egypt. The Egyptian tree of life symbolized creation and represented the chain of events that brought everything into existence.

Fast forward to modern science. The tree has become the quintessential symbol of biological evolution, as its ever-branching image poignantly depicts the unmistakable interconnections between all living species on the Earth.

The beautiful Tree of Life painting at the top of the article was shared with us by artist Judith Shaw. It was inspired by the ancient symbol of the Tree of Life as well as by Sacred Geometry.

The Tree Leaf and Eternal Life

Consider this beautiful commentary from Thich Nhat Hanh reflecting on a tree leaf:

“I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, “No. During the whole spring and summer I was completely alive. I worked hard to help nourish the tree, and now much of me is in the tree. I am not limited by this form. I am also the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. So I don’t worry at all. As I leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon.’

… That day there was a wind blowing and, after a while, I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully, because as it floated it saw itself already there in the tree. It was so happy. I bowed my head, knowing that I have a lot to learn from the leaf because it is not afraid-it knew nothing can be born and nothing can die.”

Cultural Beliefs About Trees

Trees are considered sacred in virtually every place where humans have settled.

There are many profound beliefs surrounding trees that people have held for millennia. Here are some interesting and touching examples:

  • For the Sng’oi people of Malaysia, a person and a tree can belong with each other, and this relationship is maintained for life. Certain trees and certain people belong together. When a person belongs with a tree, they also belong with its offspring: any trees that grow from the seeds of the first tree, no matter how far the seeds may scatter. The Sng’oi people call upon their intuition to know which child trees have sprung from which parent trees.
  • The World Tree is said to dwell in three worlds: Its roots reach down to the underworld, its trunk sits on the Earth, and its branches extend up to the heavens. Many cultures share a belief that this tree is the Axis Mundi or World Axis which supports or holds up the cosmos. For the Mayan peoples, the Axis Mundi was a massive Ceiba (in other cultures, it is called Kapok) tree that stands at the center of the world. The Mayan beliefs reflect that human souls first came into being as the sacred white flowers on the branches of the Ceiba tree. Souls of the dead Mayan ancestors rose from the roots of the Axis Mundi up through its branches and into the celestial realms.
  • In Germanic regions, it was believed that mankind was created from tree trunks, echoing the perception that people and trees have much in common.
  • In Sweden, some trees were considered “wardens” and could guard a home from bad luck. The warden was usually a very old tree growing on the lot near the home. The family living there had such great respect for the tree that they would often adopt a surname related to the name of the tree.
  • A well-known sacred tree in Norse mythology was Yggdrasil, a giant ash tree that was said to link and shelter the nine worlds that were believed to exist.
  • In Irish and English folklore, fairies would be found wherever Ash, Oak, and Hawthorne trees grew together. Hawthorn trees were regarded as a powerful symbol of protection, and were often planted near houses to ward off lightning as well as evil spirits. On the dawn of Beltane, it was believed that women who bathed in the dew from a Hawthorne blossom would become beautiful, and men who washed their hands in the dew would become skilled craftsmen.
  • Buddhists have a deep reverence for the Bodhi tree, a type of fig tree with heart-shaped leaves, beneath which the Buddha is said to have meditated for 49 days, trying to reconcile his mind to the fact that there was suffering in the world. On the 49th day, he stood and thanked the tree for providing shade for him, and in that instant he attained enlightenment. Today, in the same location where the Buddha is believed to have sat, there grows a descendant of that same Bodhi tree. Buddhist myths say that the tree will live there until the world is destroyed, and the place where it grows will be the last place to be destroyed; and when the world is reborn, that site will be the first place to appear.
  • The villagers of Piplantri, in Rajasthan, India, celebrate the birth of each little girl by planting 111 trees in her honor. The entire village works together to plant and care for the trees. This tradition not only ensures that the environment will be able to support the increasing population of the village, but it has also brought harmony and a drop in crime to the village.
  • In Malaysia, people maintain a very intimate relationship with trees. “There is a practice of tree planting around houses to the extent that the walls and wooden structures are allowed to give way to the roots of creeping plants, purposely sown at the bases of these structures.” The graveyards in Malaysia are covered so thickly with trees that the entire grounds are cool and sheltered from the tropical sun. The trees are allowed to take root into the graves and it is said that the trees whisper prayers to the creator asking for forgiveness of past transgressions of those buried in that place.

http://www.pachamama.org/blog/people-and-trees-intimately-connected-through-the-ages?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=Facebook+Posts&utm_term=Ryan+Landes-Gilman&utm_content=Blog+People+Trees+Connection+6+27+15

 

Ant Power Animal Symbol

Ant Power Animal Symbol Of Team Work Oneness And Patience

When observing ants it is easy to see some of the special characteristics, or ‘powers’ they have. Ants are very industrious. There are ants that are solitary but most are part of a large community. Within the community there is a wide variety of activities and behaviours, with each ant knowing its place and fulfilling its duties with total loyalty to the whole. Each ant does his bit to ensure the survival of the whole community, no matter what role it has in society. Activities include gathering and hunting. They work hard, are patient and co-operative. An ant is able to carry a leaf, a crumb or a dead ant for miles – just to get back home to the anthill, requiring a load of stamina and patience. If an ant has to fight, it will, if an ant has to dig tunnels, it will, and if an ant has to carry leaves for miles, it will, all for the good of the community. As well as being extremely hard working they possess an extraordinary ability to work as a team – the power of their medicine – to build their homes, to feed and protect all members of their colony. There may be a social order in ant colonies, but all ants honour and respect each other and work toward their common goal – the good of the community. Worker ants are great architects and can show us how to construct our dreams into reality. They are also very persistent and can teach this skill as well. Queen ants have wings and are able to fly until they fall pregnant. Once pregnant they tear of their own wings sacrificing the ability to fly for the birth of a newborn.

If the ant has crossed your path then this may be an indication that you are hardworking, good at team work, working to help the community, or that you are patient and take the time needed to achieve your goals. Being tireless workers and hunters, ant teaches us the trait of perseverance and patience in ALL they/we do. These gifts can also be utilised by us. Those who have Ant as Power Animal, will find that many of their life lessons will involve the mastery of patience in some way. Ant medicine is powerful, yet subtle. It teaches us how to let go of our egos, aligning us with the uprightness of equality. For sure the world would be a happier place if humanity held and utilised the virtues of ants. Imagine what the world would be like if humanity held and applied the values that the ant expresses. Hard work and patience, which come with the power of the ant, make goals and dreams a reality.

If any of the above seem like your weak points, this may indicate that you need to work on this. Perhaps you need to practise the special qualities an ant possesses – co-operating, working with others or patiently working towards your goals. If you intentionally murder or maim an ant e.g. by stepping on it, question yourself why it is that you are deciding to destroy the unconditional love that the ant so freely gives and shares.

http://www.shamanicjourney.com/ant-power-animal-symbol-of-team-work-oneness-and-patience