native american spirituality
Many great teachers have helped me on the Path of compassion, peace and love for Mother Earth, and have encouraged me to walk her Good Red Road with integrity.
On the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, generations have lived in harmony with each other and the land, without running water and electricity. My friends there honor the river that runs through their pueblo, bathing in it and drinking from the clear fresh waters that flow down from their Sacred Mountain. They celebrate the earth and the changing seasons with ceremonial dances and rituals, some of which are open to the public. On Christmas Eve, the low adobe roofs of their communal houses are lined with farolitos that glow against a star-studded blue velvet sky. The smell of pinon and juniper burning for light and warmth enchants with its aroma, and the Holy Family is carried on a palanquin throughout the pueblo to joyous drumming and chanting.
I have gained insight and peace praying with different tribes of brothers and sisters in the American Southwest. I have meditated, prayed and shared tea in the Native American Church, honoring the Great Spirit with rituals and ceremonies lasting throughout the night.
Charley Thom, a Karok Indian from Mt. Shasta, came to West Virginia to mentor Shaw Skybull, a white man who prayed and sacrificed to learn the medicine ways of Charley’s ancestors. Together they taught us to smudge with sage and sweetgrass, and to perform the sacred rite of the Sweat Lodge for inner and outer purification. They showed us how to build the lodge and how to gather rocks that would burn red as fire to provide blazing heat in the Lodge. Heat so intense that we would bring our sweat-drenched faces down to Mother Earth, begging for breath for fear we might die of suffocation.
There are healers in Maryland who devote their lives to teaching Lakota ways and medicine to those who seek their wisdom. Henry Niese is an artist/medicine man/healer who, with his revered wife Paula, a powerful medicine woman, created Eagle Voice Center. Countless seekers have been transformed by their teachings and the lives they live honoring and celebrating Mother Earth.
Clay Miller, a shaman in Sedona, took me into the desert and taught me many ways to find, touch and heal with Rocks. Clay walks his talk as he lives and works each day in his desert home, teaching those who seek his wisdom and helping others heal themselves with the gifts of Mother Earth.
There are many dedicated teachers/healers who revere Mother Earth and hold the space for each of us to come and learn Earth wisdom with them. They have chosen to cherish and preserve her beauty and encourage us to find our own path on the Good Red Road.
I honor all the men and women who share their teachings, and bow to them in humility and gratitude.