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What I have come to know.

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  • What I have come to know.

    First off, let me start by saying thank you for this medium to connect with Native American people. Second, I do not mean to offend anyone with the contents within. All I can do is relate my personal experience up to this point of the journey I am on. Since I have never been around your culture I also have no right to assume that I know anything factual about the way of your people. The only readily available source from which I can draw information is mainstream, American media and what is taught in public schools. As time has told, most Americans are arrogant enough to believe everything they see from a limited, ego driven point of view to be indisputable fact. Most people are guilty of this and make it evident in everyday interaction. It has taken a great deal of getting used to, but I don't have much faith left in my culture or the things that I have been raised to do both consciously and sub consciously. I have seen that from a young age I have been taught to be blindly obedient to the most absurd notions. I have failed, and failed by continuing to follow old habits and felt absolutely insane for doing so when the results do not change. Authority figures in the American public want people to see a small piece of the big picture subjectively. We are manipulated easily through fear and mistruth. It is as though we are being bred to be cattle for the scheme of some great catastrophe. I realize now that since nothing is separate that I am only one piece of a greater whole that is becoming ill. It is a sickness that seems to spread like cancer. The cities of man are like great blemishes upon the Earth that gives us life. Nothing in American culture is truly sacred anymore unless it is an issue of ego driven "morality". In every culture, if you span far enough back in history, we lived in sacred relation to what gives us life. The ego grew larger and larger until eventually things began to fall out of balance. Terrible, terrible things have been carried out because of this ego. Entire cultures of people have been laid to waste. Some buried and forgotten. However, there are still many sources from which the Great Spirit advises us. I have great hope in the potential for everything to change in ever guiding consciousness and thus myself. I feel it tugging and pulling at me for this change. It is happening in many other people as well. For as long as I can remember I have been looking for answers. Some of which I have taken to stubbornly, others I have taken to easily, and some that I have opposed radically because my understanding was still limited. In my first years of adulthood I fell into the use of drugs with, yet again, a limited understanding. It quickly sent me into a spiral of depression and anxiety, which I have experienced most of my life on a smaller scale anyway. I have blamed many outside sources for this but it is myself that I truly have to blame. Conventional medicine and psychiatric treatment has not been beneficial. It took several years and many interactions with plant spirits to get a glimpse of a bigger piece of the picture. I have found that hallucinogens can be very confusing from a recreational stand point. They are taken for granted by most of my culture. The glimpses I have received have been short lived and without guidance. I know that Spirits are trying to tell me what is wrong with the way I live and how I relate with everything. Interacting with such plant spirits without guidance is like walking through the darkness with a flickering candle. I know now that they are only to be used for a higher purpose pertaining to universal consciousness and healing. My culture only has limited tradition with such spirits that have been broken for years. It is extremely rare to find a person within recreational users of these spirits that is truly knowledgeable of the spirit itself and how it is supposed to be approached. I have halted use of these spirits without guidance due to some of the confusion it has created and because I do not truly understand how to approach or respect them. I am, however, left with a lot more questions now than answers. I cannot find an elder in my culture that has the experience or the attitude to be a credible guide. Many of the people I meet are tricksters and I try to learn as much from their mistakes as possible. I have studied many religions of many cultures and there are a lot of good tenets to follow, but nothing quite hits the nail on the head. We are faced with eco crisis because many cultures put too much emphasis on morality within human interaction and neglect interaction with everything else. This is just as important as how we treat our peers. This brought me to Shamanism. Shamanism is a loose definition for a way of life that for spiritual leaders of indigenous people rooted in mysticism. Shamanism eventually brought me to Native American spirituality and eventually to this forum. Although I am open to suggestion, it is currently my goal to speak with an elder in Native American culture to help clarify my purpose and suffering. I relayed my experiences to an herbalist I met where I currently live. This man was left unsatisfied by modern Western medicine. After becoming a medical doctor and attaining a master’s degree in psychiatry he began studying human perception. The study brought him to Native American culture and thusly he began training under a Native American medicine man. After relating my experiences of death and rebirth while interacting with different plant spirits he suggested that I learn about the White Buffalo Woman, Wakan Tanka. Also, he said that I was protected by Her and that my spirit would be safe in the afterlife. As he related some of the information to me I was awe struck. Goosebumps overtook me and I was left with a feeling of electric charge. Some of the things I have read a long the recent part of my journey suggest that I need an elder to interpret the things the Great Spirit is trying to show me and it may be possible that pain is due to neglecting my purpose. My Father, God rest his soul, passed about three months ago. He was not connected with Native American culture but he was a Healer. My Grandmother is extremely spiritually conscious but is still rooted within an ego driven society. She displays angelic understanding and compassion that I have found few other places in life. Since my Father's passing I have felt lost, but as though I am sitting on a great deal of potential to assist all of my relations in a positive and healing manner. I believe that your elders, who have held on to traditions handed down from the beginning of human population, will know whether I am fit for a life of healing. I feel that my understanding is still limited primarily to the physical illusion I live everyday and the greatest source of knowledge lies within the experience of those who can walk in daylight where I have only been given vague silhouettes for guidance. Thank you very much for your time and my apologies for the length of this post.

  • #2
    Trace your ancestry and learn YOUR culture. We don't share our culture with others...especially all the confused new agers with the same story who will not listen to us anyway and therefore steal and *******ise our culture. Also WE DO NOT USE DRUGS!!! And we hate when you people say we do. And another thing, we do npt practise shamanism that is a germanic belief system so just take your new age azz somewhere else this site is not an online help center for your typw to become Indian...it is however an online site for us to argue and laugh at wannabes who argue with us in an attempt to prove thier respect for us...wonder if you will prove to be another one?

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    • #3
      ...
      Last edited by lbgood; 08-13-2010, 04:52 AM.

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      • #4
        Come to Arizona with $10,000.00 and I'll make you sweat!!

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        • #5
          One value that the dominant culture does have is the use of paragraphs when writing. Almost 1300 words and one paragraph. Couldn't even read it.
          "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

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          • #6
            With all due respect, what you are seeking has nothing to do with us. You are seeking a romantic dominant culture idea of a mystical, noble savage -- that not who I am or any other Native person I know.

            Indian people have many differing, non-overlapping traditions. You have seized on to a mish-mash of distortion of several traditions. You cannot take a little Dine herbalism, mix it with a few Lakota stories, add a dash of Carl Jung and some LSD, and come up with viable belief system. Any attempt to do so, attacks the integrity of our cultures.

            Our intellectual and spiritual property is not an all you can eat buffet. Our ways are our ways, and not a panacea for dominant culture ills.

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            • #7
              it's my observation that white people, for the most part, cannot "humble" themselves without coming off as condescending. your username is misleading...

              *leaves barf bags for whoever may need one*

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              • #8
                I remember once, while walking in the forest, I was approached by my own spirit guide, a Chipotle Burrito. At first I was shocked by this, being that I only eat Qdoba, but his soothing voice calmed my fears. It was a wonderful evening, he taught me the ways of the burrito people, and many teachings which I pass on today. He taught me a humble way, the humble burrito way.

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                • #9
                  Am I being condescending? I only have my experience and what I have been taught since I was a small child to base my opinions and beliefs on. I may not know any better. I have been and remain humbled by multiple forces and life situations. You have never walked in my shoes, as I have never walked in yours. I have lived through many humbling experiences and feel the weight of that experience to this day. My Father was a Navy Corpsman (combat medic) and a veteran of war. For over half of my life he was ill and I cared for him. For my entire life I have had a multiply handicapped younger brother. He has lived through over thirty brain surgeries without a single complaint and is a great source of inspiration. I am my brother's keeper. Living every day to serve my family is a humbling experience. It is a weight I carry with me everywhere I go. I did not get to choose these experiences, they were thrust upon me. They were experiences that took every bit of strength from me at times.

                  I know I can never be an Indian. I know that Native American spirituality is not Shamanism. Shamanism is of Siberian origin. Things I have read compare similarities between Native American spirituality and Shamanism. Nothing more. I know that drugs are not what your culture is about. I fell into the use of them and found entheogens. I cannot stress enough that I quit using entheogens AND drugs because Entheogens gave me brief glimpses of things I have little understand of. The life of habitual drug use was horrible and irresponsible. Their use is not essential to a good life. I'm just trying to find someone who can interpret my experiences. I don't want to steal your culture.

                  My aim is to affirm that I am not mad, to fix the problems within my belief structure and help the Earth and people of every race, color, and creed. Not to take beliefs from multiple tribes as though I were eating from a buffet. Sorry that I have wasted your time. I will look for my answers elsewhere. Thanks to those offering constructive criticism.

                  As for my ancestry, although it brings me no sense of entitlement to receive Native culture, I have pictures of my Cherokee great, great Grandmother. My Grandmother also holds government papers that prove our relation. Is it wrong for me to have interest in Native American life?

                  Please do not refer to me as a New Ager. It makes my blood boil. I do not practice Shamanism, listen to ambient music, do yoga, or eat at high priced all organic restaurants. I don't drive a hybrid or donate to charities to spread spiritual awareness. Peace!

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                  • #10
                    ignore this post...
                    Last edited by dregostyr; 07-07-2010, 11:58 PM. Reason: double

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                    • #11
                      my prior post didnt show up
                      Kinda hard to read very much. I gather the post is about spiritual experiences?

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                      • #12
                        Interesting.

                        Well...not really. It's too long. It makes my old eyes hurt to read that much and it isn't in large print.

                        I am sorry for the loss of your father, Humbled. I have lost loved ones too. I still miss them.

                        Here is some advice from an old lady, not an elder, just an old lady:

                        It seems to me that you have your own "elder": Your grandmother sounds like a wise woman. You should listen to her, not a bunch of new-age strangers.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Humbled View Post
                          As for my ancestry, although it brings me no sense of entitlement to receive Native culture, I have pictures of my Cherokee great, great Grandmother. My Grandmother also holds government papers that prove our relation. Is it wrong for me to have interest in Native American life?

                          Just a little friendly advice, don't lead off with your Cherokee whatever ancestor. Most Indian people have literally met dozens of non-Indian folks who introduce themselves via their Cherokee great great grandmother. I think, I have known exactly two white people who didn't ultimately reveal to me their Cherokee ancestors -- one was from Sweden and the other was Arapahoe or Choctaw depending on the day of the week. Most of us -- fairly or unfairly -- tend to regard such revelations with a jaundiced eye.

                          No there is nothing wrong with being interested. But part of learning about any culture is learning about boundaries.


                          Originally posted by Humbled View Post
                          My aim is to affirm that I am not mad, to fix the problems within my belief structure and help the Earth and people of every race, color, and creed. Not to take beliefs from multiple tribes as though I were eating from a buffet. Sorry that I have wasted your time. I will look for my answers elsewhere. Thanks to those offering constructive criticism.

                          Boundaries again. How would you respond if I showed up on your door step and by way of introduction to you and your community said: "Hey, I read about this Moses guy and this Vishnu guy. On my way here, I smoked a joint and saw a burning bush. What does it mean?" I suspect for the safety of your family, your first response would not be to invite me in for a cup of tea and a deep conversation about your intimate religious beliefs. Instead you would compassionately refer me to the local free clinic that offered mental health services.

                          Most Native communities have dealt with waves of outsiders trying to harvest our intellectual property -- anthropologist, hobbyists, the curious, the lost and desperate. Most have been well intentioned. And Native people have by and large responded with polite hospitality. But after decades of watching academics achieve tenure and receive juicy book advances, while we receive nothing. Or reading our beliefs and culture distorted, and our secrets revealed. Or have the seekers, once fulfilled, leave and set up a profitable practice in Beverly Hills... We have become angry and defensive.


                          Originally posted by Humbled View Post
                          ...Things I have read compare similarities between Native American spirituality and Shamanism. Nothing more....


                          Until recently, the academic West assumed it possessed a privileged perspective of objectivity -- a legacy of the mindset of the colonizer. It presumed to have the understanding and clarity to draw up relationships between differing worldviews. Further, it claimed its interpretations are the right ones.

                          May I suggest you read "Shakespeare in the Bush" by anthropologist Laura Bohannan. To modern sensibilities it might seem a bit dated, but it is an excellent illustration of the pitfalls arising in cross culture communications.

                          The moral of the story: Don't always believe what you read. Setting aside deliberate lies told to anthros to protect the privacy necessary for our ways, there is often much lost in translation.
                          Last edited by OLChemist; 07-07-2010, 10:10 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Nice post OL!
                            "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by OLChemist View Post
                              Our intellectual and spiritual property is not an all you can eat buffet. Our ways are our ways, and not a panacea for dominant culture ills.

                              Comment

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