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  • Native spirituality--Seeking truth, seeking guidance

    Greetings, all.

    I am an American with no Native ancestry. And yet, since I was a teenager (for 9 or 10 years now), since I first was exposed to Native American beliefs, I have felt strongly drawn to them. My experience and knowledge up until now comes primarily from sources within circles of New Age shamanism, particularly those surrounding totemic symbolism -- what I clearly see pinned at the top of this forum is regarded as a system filled with "fake" shamans and people determined to selectively adopt and thoroughly butcher traditional beliefs and practices based on their own whims or greed or other misguided notions.

    I am posting here because I do not wish to be associated with fake shamans. I make no claims of having any powers or special spiritual abilities. I come in ignorance.

    Even as a student in a Catholic school, one particularly enlightened professor told us that religion is ultimately about the search for truth, and that every person's spiritual obligation is to find whatever path calls to their deepest selves and seems most true. For 10 years, I have studied many religions from around the world, but still what I have learned about Native American beliefs and practices is always what has felt most true to me.

    I wish to learn about Native beliefs in hope that I may practice them in a way that honors and respects Native history and culture. I am, as I said before, especially drawn to animal totems, and this has been the primary focus of my limited experience with New Age shamanism, mainly through the writings of Ted Andrews. I am also interested in beliefs surrounding two-spirit people, since I myself identify as genderqueer (i.e., having a shifting gender identity, or belonging to a third gender). I am female-bodied, and married to a woman, with whom I have a daughter. Our daughter DOES have significant Native blood from her genetic father's side, but cannot be legally recognized as a member of her genetic father's tribe (which, I am sorry to say, I do not know the name of) due equally to our desire to keep him as far as possible from us, and to his mother's refusal to go through whatever process is required to become legally recognized as a member of a Native American group.

    I am also a student of historic preservation, one or two semesters from obtaining my degree, and as such, I am additionally concerned with the preservation of the history of the native cultures of the Americas, and would very much like to go on to specialize in that area when I have my degree.

    But regarding the spiritual aspect, I don't know where to even start to try to find out how to follow what my spirit says is truth, and know that in doing so, I am honoring and preserving the source of these beliefs.

    I appreciate any insight anyone here can offer, and I thank you for reading and responding.

    --Ven

  • #2
    With all due respect, what you are asking for is not available over the internet. For the most part we protect our intellectual property by having strict procedures for sharing knowledge within our communities. The internet is not one of those methods.

    I would also suggest if your exposure to "Native" is through the New Age movement, you have learned much about our nations, peoples and beliefs which is not true having been distorted by the consumerist lens of the colonizer's mind-set.

    We do not have one belief system, but hundreds. They are not mix and match. You can not pick and choose from a spiritual smorgasbord, a dash of Lakota, with a little Hopi and scoop of Creek. These practices are encased in languages, patterns of life and kinship which are largely unavailable to outsiders. These ways were given to our people. They are ours to guard and share or not, as we see fit. Our plates are rather full healing our own communities and we have little time and less energy from those of the dominant culture who come begging yet again.

    I am not unsympathetic to those who come seeking. I gently suggest you save yourself much heartache. European-Americans have rich spiritual and cultural legacies upon which to draw. As I tell our children, look to who you are. You can not ultimately wear another's skin.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Gethenian View Post
      Greetings, all.

      I am an American with no Native ancestry. And yet, since I was a teenager (for 9 or 10 years now), since I first was exposed to Native American beliefs, I have felt strongly drawn to them. My experience and knowledge up until now comes primarily from sources within circles of New Age shamanism, particularly those surrounding totemic symbolism -- what I clearly see pinned at the top of this forum is regarded as a system filled with "fake" shamans and people determined to selectively adopt and thoroughly butcher traditional beliefs and practices based on their own whims or greed or other misguided notions.

      I am posting here because I do not wish to be associated with fake shamans. I make no claims of having any powers or special spiritual abilities. I come in ignorance.

      Even as a student in a Catholic school, one particularly enlightened professor told us that religion is ultimately about the search for truth, and that every person's spiritual obligation is to find whatever path calls to their deepest selves and seems most true. For 10 years, I have studied many religions from around the world, but still what I have learned about Native American beliefs and practices is always what has felt most true to me.

      I wish to learn about Native beliefs in hope that I may practice them in a way that honors and respects Native history and culture. I am, as I said before, especially drawn to animal totems, and this has been the primary focus of my limited experience with New Age shamanism, mainly through the writings of Ted Andrews. I am also interested in beliefs surrounding two-spirit people, since I myself identify as genderqueer (i.e., having a shifting gender identity, or belonging to a third gender). I am female-bodied, and married to a woman, with whom I have a daughter. Our daughter DOES have significant Native blood from her genetic father's side, but cannot be legally recognized as a member of her genetic father's tribe (which, I am sorry to say, I do not know the name of) due equally to our desire to keep him as far as possible from us, and to his mother's refusal to go through whatever process is required to become legally recognized as a member of a Native American group.

      I am also a student of historic preservation, one or two semesters from obtaining my degree, and as such, I am additionally concerned with the preservation of the history of the native cultures of the Americas, and would very much like to go on to specialize in that area when I have my degree.

      But regarding the spiritual aspect, I don't know where to even start to try to find out how to follow what my spirit says is truth, and know that in doing so, I am honoring and preserving the source of these beliefs.

      I appreciate any insight anyone here can offer, and I thank you for reading and responding.

      --Ven
      Originally posted by OLChemist View Post
      With all due respect, what you are asking for is not available over the internet. For the most part we protect our intellectual property by having strict procedures for sharing knowledge within our communities. The internet is not one of those methods.

      I would also suggest if your exposure to "Native" is through the New Age movement, you have learned much about our nations, peoples and beliefs which is not true having been distorted by the consumerist lens of the colonizer's mind-set.

      We do not have one belief system, but hundreds. They are not mix and match. You can not pick and choose from a spiritual smorgasbord, a dash of Lakota, with a little Hopi and scoop of Creek. These practices are encased in languages, patterns of life and kinship which are largely unavailable to outsiders. These ways were given to our people. They are ours to guard and share or not, as we see fit. Our plates are rather full healing our own communities and we have little time and less energy from those of the dominant culture who come begging yet again.

      I am not unsympathetic to those who come seeking. I gently suggest you save yourself much heartache. European-Americans have rich spiritual and cultural legacies upon which to draw. As I tell our children, look to who you are. You can not ultimately wear another's skin.
      I would have to beg to differ, OLChemist.

      After studying different religions around the world for years, why not add one more proverbial 'feather in the cap' and allow the OP to learn the Native spirituality. After all, they have stated they are going to do it with honor and respect. It's only learning about animals and totems. In this day and age, it only seems fitting to learn it on the internet.

      The dominant culture has been attempting to wear another's skin since the beginning of time. What is one more skin.

      We're not even going to get into the sexuality aspect. What does it have to do with spirituality?


      Why must I feel like that..why must I chase the cat?


      "When I was young man I did some dumb things and the elders would talk to me. Sometimes I listened. Time went by and as I looked around...I was the elder".

      Mr. Rossie Freeman

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Joe's Dad View Post
        We're not even going to get into the sexuality aspect. What does it have to do with spirituality?
        The fact what she was reading, and learning about animal totems and has not been told that she is going to hell ( I don't think you are by the way), that is big "attraction" over a great majority of dominant (and not dominant) religions, people and cultures. And after all, the new age dominant societys view of native spirituality... respecting and honoring all "dah two layget, dah four layget, dah birts who fly, dah rock people, the tree naytion, mudder ear't, fadder sky, uncle clowd, aunt wadder, and all of deyr spirits" is a very heart warming feeling. Because if you are gonna commune with a grasshopper (no, that should probably be a wolf or sumthin) and respect its soul, the wolf is not going to judge her. She understandably is deep down hurt, feels lost, and feels every negative vibration that the culture she was raised in (and pretty much exists all over this world regardless of the outward face a particular society puts on forth) and wants to turn away from it. She wants to embrace native spirtuality and become one with nature, lo the universe. If you are one with nature and the universe, what can be against you? Plus she read something or other about that one tribe that has those french people that are men-women or something like that... berdarches or something like that I think they're called (my tribe doesn't have anything like that by the way- and neither do a lot of my friends peoples).

        Plus she would get to wear some fringe, turquois, chicken feathers and pony beads roach clipped to her hair, and hang a dream catcher from her rear view mirror.

        Gethenian, I would just suggest you leave your ideal of native spirituality alone. It's not what you think it is, is not what you are looking for, and never will be. Stop looking outward to any religion or belief system. How is someone else going to show you how to believe, look within your self, get to know yourself, find your own way and "become one with your self". I don't even know what the hell a totem is, but I don't think a wolf totem turns to the polar bear totem for it's beliefs or way of life.

        Or... for the low price of 15,000 dollars I will give you your spirit name (another 5,000 for your power name, 8,000 for your secret name), teach you all of the ceremonies of the Indian people (don't let anyone tell you different tribes have different ways... thats poppycock), give you magic powers, teach you to shapeshift, and if you are good enough looking (you did say you were a woman right? a natural born woman? I don't know much about "genderqueer" people, I don't know if "female bodied" is code for something else) as I was saying, if you are good enough looking, I will even adopt you by making relations with you.

        Ah-ha-ho!

        Bless'ed bee!
        ScarryWolf

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by OLChemist View Post
          These ways were given to our people. They are ours to guard and share or not, as we see fit. Our plates are rather full healing our own communities and we have little time and less energy from those of the dominant culture who come begging yet again.
          well spoken. i agree with these points.

          Comment


          • #6
            BTW,

            I'm pretty booked up with ceremony classes for the next few month... so if you're in a hurry (any of you out there...) I guess I can refer you to a new up n comming shaman. I've heard great things about the shaman Larry T. Baskin out of Warskish. He's a lot cheaper than I am, and can also probably teach you how to throw a tommy hawk if you ask him nicely.

            Awee-ya
            ScarryWolf

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by BigChef View Post
              The fact what she was reading, and learning about animal totems and has not been told that she is going to hell ( I don't think you are by the way), that is big "attraction" over a great majority of dominant (and not dominant) religions, people and cultures. And after all, the new age dominant societys view of native spirituality... respecting and honoring all "dah two layget, dah four layget, dah birts who fly, dah rock people, the tree naytion, mudder ear't, fadder sky, uncle clowd, aunt wadder, and all of deyr spirits" is a very heart warming feeling. Because if you are gonna commune with a grasshopper (no, that should probably be a wolf or sumthin) and respect its soul, the wolf is not going to judge her. She understandably is deep down hurt, feels lost, and feels every negative vibration that the culture she was raised in (and pretty much exists all over this world regardless of the outward face a particular society puts on forth) and wants to turn away from it. She wants to embrace native spirtuality and become one with nature, lo the universe. If you are one with nature and the universe, what can be against you? Plus she read something or other about that one tribe that has those french people that are men-women or something like that... berdarches or something like that I think they're called (my tribe doesn't have anything like that by the way- and neither do a lot of my friends peoples).

              Plus she would get to wear some fringe, turquois, chicken feathers and pony beads roach clipped to her hair, and hang a dream catcher from her rear view mirror.

              Gethenian, I would just suggest you leave your ideal of native spirituality alone. It's not what you think it is, is not what you are looking for, and never will be. Stop looking outward to any religion or belief system. How is someone else going to show you how to believe, look within your self, get to know yourself, find your own way and "become one with your self". I don't even know what the hell a totem is, but I don't think a wolf totem turns to the polar bear totem for it's beliefs or way of life.

              Or... for the low price of 15,000 dollars I will give you your spirit name (another 5,000 for your power name, 8,000 for your secret name), teach you all of the ceremonies of the Indian people (don't let anyone tell you different tribes have different ways... thats poppycock), give you magic powers, teach you to shapeshift, and if you are good enough looking (you did say you were a woman right? a natural born woman? I don't know much about "genderqueer" people, I don't know if "female bodied" is code for something else) as I was saying, if you are good enough looking, I will even adopt you by making relations with you.

              Ah-ha-ho!

              Bless'ed bee!
              Originally posted by BigChef View Post
              BTW,

              I'm pretty booked up with ceremony classes for the next few month... so if you're in a hurry (any of you out there...) I guess I can refer you to a new up n comming shaman. I've heard great things about the shaman Larry T. Baskin out of Warskish. He's a lot cheaper than I am, and can also probably teach you how to throw a tommy hawk if you ask him nicely.

              Awee-ya
              welocome back! we are all so lost without you and your profound insights

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Grits & Beans View Post
                welocome back! we are all so lost without you and your profound insights
                Thank you neice, it's good to be back. Business is pickin up, bills are paid, and the powers back on!
                ScarryWolf

                Comment


                • #9
                  um eh

                  I have to agree with OL Chemist on this one and whoever said it's not what you think it is or will ever be. You would be very lucky to find a native to tell you their ways. More than likely you will just be let down. However, if you are searching to find yourself within nature you could follow the Wicca ways. I am learning about wicca and will probably call myself Wicca by the next time I get online. You should look into Wicca if you are seeking something you cannot find here.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BigChef View Post
                    Thank you neice, it's good to be back. Business is pickin up, bills are paid, and the powers back on!
                    i am so happy i'm not confused anymore...first i thought you was jd but your really my uncle

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Grits & Beans View Post
                      i am so happy i'm not confused anymore...first i thought you was jd but your really my uncle
                      The bigchiefydude is not JD cuz I would have known!

                      cheify's words are inspiring to the soul. I am trying to follow his ways by making relations!


                      Why must I feel like that..why must I chase the cat?


                      "When I was young man I did some dumb things and the elders would talk to me. Sometimes I listened. Time went by and as I looked around...I was the elder".

                      Mr. Rossie Freeman

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Joe's Dad View Post
                        I am trying to follow his ways by making relations!
                        Making relations is wonderful thing, but I think you've been doing it a lot longer than me dad. I still got some of elk medicine if you are interested, or do you still think it's cheating?
                        ScarryWolf

                        Comment

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