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2012: What Can Native Americans Teach The World?

by Three Blade Jaguar

    There is always a chance the world – or at least its present Age – will come to a dramatic conclusion on the Winter Solstice of 2012.
    If it does, though, it is most unlikely that ancient Mayan prophets can claim credit for calling the Big Day correctly. They never much expected the end of the world as, in their long experience, each age was followed by another.
    Nonetheless, those Mesoamerican Indians built a civilization that was mathematically, technologically and spiritually brilliant. And their modern descendants can still show us a thing or two about forecasting on a personal level – the art of divination – using some of the same calendrical tools. I’ll give you a brief idea how to do that. First, though, let’s talk about the end of time – as well as its beginning.



My experience of last year's Dance was one of extraordinary spiritual power. Even half a year later, I am still, as the Dance Leader and one of the lead dancers commented, incredibly impressed at everyone’s magnificent effort and the incredible vibe that came off the entire event, magnificently hosted and supported by Four Quarters.

The ten months I spent prepping and making my household insane with incessant Sun Dance songs could not match four days around the drum with an experienced Lakota lead singer. I am twice the singer I was when the dancers entered the arbor. I have to admit, the majority of my recollection of the actual dance itself is Willie Black Cat’s stick expertly rising and falling on the drum and his hands signaling a push-up or change up. After a while the voice came back, too! Washte! For a quite a while after, I was still hearing those Sacred Songs in my head all the time. I find myself singing whenever the brain stops and settles.

I’ve spoken to the Dance Leader about our experience and thinking about this year’s dance. We’ve gotten very positive feedback. Gods 'n' spirits help me, I am already committing for this year. We’ve also noted many powerful and good things coming to both dancers and the supporters from the strength of people’s prayers. Pilamaye! So once again, I am singing, praying, getting ready. Mitaquye oyasin.

The Road to Sundance

The Wi Wanyank Wacipi, or Sundance
, is a traditional renewal ceremony of the Lakota people held in late summer. Historically the different Lakota bands were spread out over the plains and the Sundance was the time for them to come together as one people to honor the ancestors and pray for the continuance of the people.

The community would gather its resources and help prepare for this ceremony and a Dancer would be chosen to carry the prayers of the people and their community. This chosen Dancer will prepare for an entire year for this ceremony. Then during the ceremony the Dancer goes through four days of purification and prays in the sacred arbor for the four days of Dance. During this time the whole community would give support to the ceremony and their Dancer by cooking, tending the fire, singing, or simply by being present under the arbors. The Sundance is not only a renewal ceremony of prayer for health, help and healing of the people, but also a gathering of the communities.



Santeria as a Nature Based Religion

by Patricia Althouse

    At heart Santeria is a religion grounded in Nature. For example: the river is sacred, known as a physical embodiment of the Orisha Oshun. The lightning is sacred, known as the will in motion of the Orisha Chango. The forest is sacred, known as the center of plant mystery and magic owned by the Orisha Osain. Everything in nature harbors the quintessential magic of Ashe; the life force that flows through all matter: including you, me, and brother Maple tree.



 Supporting Ceremony: Crossing the Cultural Divide


The Neopagan movement in America
has always had a most interesting relationship with the spiritual pathways of Traditional Native American ceremony. We have a lot in common; but sometimes the cultural gap can be a significant and difficult obstacle.

Be that as it may, there are many Native practices that have established themselves firmly in the many paths of Earth Religion now practiced in the New World. The Drum, Smudging, the Sweat Lodge and Vision Quest come immediately to mind. I truly suspect that most of these ceremonial techniques are universal to indigenous traditions worldwide, but have been kept most accessible for us by First Nations people of the New World.

Some Native people look suspiciously at Pagan folk, who they sometimes perceive as having lifted selected bits of their religion and practice it in a distorted way; like coyotes and raccoons stealing shiny bits from their yards. From their viewpoint, European invaders have stolen literally everything else in their world; land, livelihood, sacred grounds, game, resources, their language and even children, and here they come for their religion. They come by their suspicion honestly. What the key problem seems to be is that any religion, taken out of its cultural context, is largely without meaning. Which is where many non-native people can lose track.


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