Shamanism and Native Spirituality


“When one defines oneself as Pagan, it means she or he follows an earth or nature religion, one that sees the divine manifest in all creation. The cycles of nature are our holy days, the earth is our temple, its plants and creatures our partners and teachers. We worship a deity that is both male and female, a mother Goddess and father God, who together created all that is, was, or will be. We respect life, cherish the free will of sentient beings, and accept the sacredness of all creation.”

~Edain McCoy

Long ago, the Great Bear wandered freely throughout the sky. His massive paws took him far across the boundless ceiling of the world. He hunted and fished, feeding there in the rivers of the sky. All throughout the first spring he did this, until his belly was full and he was happy.

Little did he know that three braves had discovered him feeding that spring and they sought his meat and pelt to feed their families in the long winter that they knew was coming.

Without warning, the braves ran out after the bear. The Great Bear took off running, trying to escape from the hunters. All through the long summer he ran, trying to get away. The braves, however, were very cunning and strong. It was in the first autumn when their arrows pierced the Great Bear and he died.

The blood of the bear spilled out of the sky and tinged all of the leaves with red and orange. The trees then dropped all of their leaves in mourning for their friend.

The Great Bear was reborn the following spring as is the way of bears, and the braves set out after him again. They do this each year. If you look into the sky and watch, you can see the three braves trailing behind the Great Bear as he runs from them towards the horizon, only to do it again with the coming of spring.

The path to Vision is simple, if you can take a few hours or a few days to spend in an isolated spot upon the land. Fasting and sitting are useful and common ways to help open yourself to spiritual reality. It is important to find a place to be alone, where you won’t be disturbed.

It may be a good idea to have a non-judgmental friend nearby who can be trusted for whatever support you feel ou need, from checking on you at regular intervals, to listening to your stories and helping you to interpret what you have experienced.

There are no rules for a Vision Quest you create for yourself. Whether you spend your time inside a tent, in the open woods, on a beach or mountain top, it is only necessary to let your intuition draw you to a place where it seems that you are meant to be. It is crucial, however, to have direct, physical contact with the elements and to allow yourself to be affected by the natural world. Experiences on the land are often powerful because you are vulnerable there, willing to look at what you see, instead of just seeing what you expect to see.

The Earth is a mirror reflecting your real self. Cities, which were created by humanity, will more readily reflect the faces that you also created. The Earth cannot discern borders between nations, races, species and life-forms, between animate and inanimate, between form and spirit.

It is when you forget these distinctions that you begin to open yourself to Vision. Releasing your judgments of yourself, your purpose and your identity, you reach past familiar explanations of reality towards a higher comprehension.

From: A Voice From The Earth

In many ways the Earth is like True-Hearted Woman and humanity the husband who neglects her. Still she provides for us, she feeds us, clothes us and keeps us warm, though we neither recognize nor appreciate her gifts. Our eyes are turned to the objects of our desire which we will attain no matter what the cost. In most cases this price is also paid by the Earth.

But even abandoned, even hurt in some ways beyond renewal, the Earth leaves us a child, the possibility of change and hope for the future – if we can choose to live in a different way.

When we begin to view the Earth and its animals, plants and ecosystems as sacred, we will protect and defend the land because our spirituality depends on it. By our own choice and our willingness to listen to the land, we can become native again, even in our cities whose concrete can cover but not destroy the Earth that lies beneath.

But when we cease to uphold the separation between ourselves and the land, refinding our reverence and respect for it, allowing it to become as intrinsic to our spirituality as our compassion for other human beings, we may find ourselves short of the tools necessary for what that means.

For many non-Western cultures a Vision Quest is one method of direct communication with the Earth. Specific details of the experience vary widely but the basic purpose seems to be universal.

The Vision Quest is a ritual which we have all experienced without even being aware of it, right within the context of our own lives, even in our cities. A passing conversation with a stranger, a sentence in a book, an idle musing on a bus, any of these can provide moments of vision if we have the openness to allow ourselves to understand what is really happening around us.

For Example:

The city-dwelling unconscious Vision Quester who is unhappy with his job, the state of the world and his relationships, but who can’t put his finger on why he isn’t happy or “what it’s all for,” takes off from work for an afternoon and goes for a walk in a park, alone.

He is startled when he comes upon a huge spider’s web which crosses his path. It has been raining intermittently but suddenly a ray of sunlight pierces through the trees. The tiny drops of water, which hang like diamonds from the web, turn into flames. Now within the complexity and confusion he can see order, a delicate beauty, a shadowy sense of purpose.

He goes home, more sure of his ability to move through his conflict, to make decisions of positive change and to allow greater intimacy in his relationships. Without even being aware of it, he has successfully completed an ancient ritual and received the healing inherent within it.

We have access to everything the world has known, if we can learn to listen to the stones and the stories they have to tell, if we hear the winds speak who have been everywhere and heard everything since the beginning of time. The world will always provide vision, if we allow ourselves to be alone, then open our eyes and look as if for the first time, at what has been around us all along.

From: A Voice From The Earth

Trees are the most spiritually advanced living beings on the Earth who are constantly in a meditative state and subtle energy is what they speak as a language. Trees can help open your energy channel and help them reciprocate with healing their blockages. A relationship with the tree is a mutually beneficial one which needs to be nourished.

Healing abilities of a Tree

Taoist masters observe that trees not only have the power to convert Carbon Dioxide into Oxygen but they have the capacity to absorb any negative energy and convert into something useful. The trees are firmly rooted in the earth and the more firmly the trees are rooted into the earth, higher they reach the heavens above. Trees are the wisest absorbing the vital energies from the earth and universal forces from the higher dimensions.

Healers and Friends

As a spiritually advanced living being, they co-exist with nature and human beings. Trees are quite intelligent and they do have a sense of touch and feel and they have conscious emotions too. Trees have the ability to calm you down when you are under the weather and they can also end all your miseries – however, this relationship needs to build up.

Choosing a Tree to work with:

Through the time in history, trees have been used for various healing and medicinal purposes and for this the bugger trees have always been the best choice, especially the Pine trees.

They radiate Chi, nourish the blood system, strengthen the nervous system and ensure longevity. These trees fill the soul and our spirit. Pines are the immortal trees. Although pine trees are mostly the best choice, many other trees or plants can be used. The larger trees contain the most energy. Among the most powerful are trees growing near running water. Some trees feel warmer or hotter than others; some feel cooler or colder than others.

Here are certain trees that have the energy to heal and you can choose one among them to work with:

  • Cypresses and cedars lower the temperature and feed Yin energy.
  • Willows help fight the dry winds to eliminate excess moisture from the body, reduce blood pressure, and strengthen the urinary tract and bladder.
  • Elms calm the mind and strengthen the stomach.
  • Maples fight the dry winds and help reduce the pain
  • Banyan trees (Indian Fig) purify your heart and help eliminate bodily moisture.
  • Cinnamon trees can remove the cold from the heart and the stomach
  • Fir trees help to absorb bruises to reduce sweating and first heal bone fractures.
  • Hawthorns help digestion, strengthen the intestine and fight low blood pressure.
  • Birches lower body temperature, eliminate body moisture and help detoxify the body.
  • Plum trees feed the spleen, the stomach, the pancreas and calm the mind.
Establishing a communication with a Tree

To communicate with a Tree, you have to have the heart to understand they are as human in their emotions than you can believe. When you talk to a tree, you will notice that they respond. As you choose to begin working with a tree, you have to see to the fact that a tree is nothing but a counter part of you and they are all but trying to tell you to be humble and humane with them.

They have the power to unlock your intuition and help you in your spiritual journey.

Source: Conscious Reminder

Then I had a dream, and in my dream one of these small round stones appeared to me and told me that the Maker of All was WakanTanka and that in order to honor Him I must honor His works in nature. The stone said that by my search I had shown myself worthy of supernatural help. It said that if I were curing a sick person I might ask its assistance, and that all the forces of nature would help me work a cure.”

~Talanka Ohitika


Things a Shaman Sees

Everything that is
is alive

on a steep river bank
there’s a voice that speaks
I’ve seen the master of that voice
he bowed to me
I spoke with him
he answers all my questions

everything that is
is alive
little gray bird
little blue breast
sings in a hollow bough
she calls her spirits dances
sings her shaman songs
woodpecker on a tree
that’s his drum
he’s got a drumming nose
and the tree shakes
cries out like a drum
when the axe bites its side

at these things answer
my call

everything that is
is alive

the lantern walks around
the walls of this house have tongues
even this bowl has its own true home
the hides asleep in their bags
were up talking all night
antlers on the graves
rise and circle the mounds
while the dead themselves get up
and go visit the living ones.

~David Cloutier

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