A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for January, 2009

Sikhism ~

459px-khanda1svgI am quite thankful for Wikipedia, it lets a person do casual research into almost any subject one can think of, and there are usually references where a person can do deeper research depending on the need or desire. I have heard of Sikhism, of course, and anyone who desires a successful interfaith structure to see us through this millenium sans “holy wars”, has seen the symbol, but I had done no reading on it that would let me know the stance of this faith regarding compassion, that one thing that seems to flow through any faith founded on the holiness of Spirit.

Sikhism fits, most definitely. The emphasis is on good works, the faith is monotheistic, and according to Wikipedia the practice is based on the teachings of the 10 gurus or enlightened beings that founded Sikhism in a span of time from 1499 to 1708. There is a home page for those who wish to research this way of life more thoroughly. One draw is that the Sikhs’ founder was inclined to feel that G-d did not need rituals and traditions, that this was a human thing, so there is a specific stance on such things within the faith.

I remember being told in church that one could not get into “heaven” via good works alone, which necessitated the intervention of a G-d being such as Jesus. I think what made me question that so closely was the presence of the other special borns in religious history, such as Osiris, etc. There was too much resemblence to all the other religions for the claim of uniqueness to stick to Christianity if one examined the claims closely. That brings us straight back to the kind of lives you live being the source of your eventual reunification with the Light. It’s just not possible for me to believe one can go on lying, stealing, and killing, and claim to know the God who is Love.

Herons ~

great-blue-heron_03Herons are the reason I named this blog the hedge. They are a strange bird, and carrying one as a totem puts you in line to work at your own pace, being patient, able to work with the group or alone. Longevity is also part of their medicine. Theirs is the power of the mystic, along with the swan. I love this bird, almost as much as I love my swan totem, these birds look just plain funky, and don’t care. That works for me. If I was long legged instead of round as a rubber ball, I’d say this was my primary totem, but, nah, I look a lot like the owl, and that has been what I have been called since childhood, a spooky ol owl.

You don’t seem to find swans or herons or even owls laughing, so I am glad I have Raven and Otter in there to balance things out a bit. There are so many of the Origin stories on the internet that, if you are interested in them, there’s lots to read. Remember your  local library, also for references. After all, your taxes pay for the community to have those books on hand for all of us, so use them, don’t misuse them.

The Heron
The heron is a long legged wading bird. There are about 60 species of heron a_heronincluding several species called egrets.  Most egrets have white plumage that is highly prized as ornaments in oriental ceremonies.
Herons are often seen standing motionless, as if in a meditative state, on its long thin legs.  This stance symbolizes its ability to maintain balance through proper focus. Its inner foundation is secure although not fixed.

When the heron feeds it stands in water.  Its neck is bent in an S shape.  The flowing pattern of the letter S reflects the rhythm of this bird.  Understanding your personal rhythm and responding to it accordingly is imperative for those with this medicine.

Water is associated with the mysteries of life.  It is connected to the emotional body of man.  When you see a heron standing in water notice how deep the water is. This depth can symbolize the depth that needs to be explored within self.  The deeper you go the more you discover.  Whatever is discovered take the time necessary to stand in silent reflection.  In this way clarity of understanding is known.

Those with this medicine have strong emotional natures. They feel things deeply and with passion. The challenge here is to keep passionate thoughts and feelings under control in order to maintain a balanced emotional nature.  The advantage of this energy indicates the passion and ambition needed to complete tasks and accomplish goals.

Herons are seldom seen flocking together.  They are solitary birds that enjoy their own company.  Heron medicine people are independent and willing to make changes when the need arises.  They do not need a lot of people in their lives.  This can sometimes lead to challenges in personal relationships especially if the other person has needs that require constant attention. Maintaining some type of social interaction and not withdrawing from others completely is helpful.

great-blue-heron_chicka-damHerons stand out in their uniqueness and know how to take advantage of things and events for their own benefit.  By observing the heron, its actions and its lack of action we learn how to perfect out personal flight through life.  Herons hold a silent power, their grace, agility and majestic presence reflect balance.  This balance is the gift they offer to all who choose to receive it.

This is from a website called Sayahda, informative if you don’t have access to totem lore from books, or better still a teacher. Learning how the animals can teach us to be truer to our own souls is fun, and Spirit honoring.

Oh, BTW, it is a hedge of herons, a counsel of crows, a lament of swans. Someone with tongue firmly planted in cheek, eh?

Sacred Directions ~

sunbearsanimalwheelAn example of the Elders using simple iconic designs to teach deep spiritual truths to the children, is the medicine wheel, and the animal components or teachers from the 7 sacred directions. These are East, South, West, North, Above, Below, and Within. There are two more in most cosmologies, the teachers that are on your left and right sides, guiding your masculine and feminine energies. (The wheel is Sun Bear’s and you need to read his book, Dancing With the Wheel, to get the entire teaching.

Medicine Wheel Wisdom

The way of the Native American Medicine Wheel is not so much that of a medwhlsmreligion as a way of life. It is a perspective of how life works, and is therefore compatible with any belief system that serves good and compassionate purpose.

As we walk the medicine wheel of our own lives, we find that there are seven sacred directions to be traveled.

East ≈ As we are born into this journey, our first direction is the East. This is the place of new beginnings, it is “where” we receive instruction by learning to hear and see what Spirit is saying to us. Most with Eurobred religious backgrounds are sure, when they begin to hear Spirit for the first time that these are messages for the people. This is seldom the case. On this path, Spirit is generally working with individuals for their own well being. It is best to presume from the outset that this is how it is with you.

“There is but One Original Source, learn to heed the messages Spirit is bringing you. The messengers of Spirit are here to help you complete your walk.”

South This is the sacred direction of growth. It is here we grow in stature as well as understanding. {The brevity here has nothing to do with the amount of teaching involved, that could actually only be contained in volume upon volume, it has to do with the individuality of the teaching and the need to heed one’s own truth, rather than make your individual truth a mandate for all mankind.}

“Grow as the Willow that bends and moves in the wind but seldom breaks. Grow in Spirit, grow in Truth, grow in Love.”

West The West is the Sacred Direction in which we take on the mantle of responsibility for ourselves and for the tribe. It is when we have reached this point of growth in our sacred walk that messages from Spirit may have meaning for others as well as ourselves. It is the “place” where we learn what is right to do for ourselves and how not to embroil others in our own dysfunctions.

“Walk with a light step, walk with grace, walk with love.”

North ≈ The North is the place of the Wisdom of the Elders. This is where we learn to honor the wisdom of those who have walked the wheel of life before us. “Here” is where we learn to apply that wisdom, both for ourselves, and for others. This is the point where it is appropriate for us to begin to pass on the wisdom that we have learned as we have walked the wheel.

“Be ever mindful that what we do affects Mother Earth and all her children for seven generations hence.”

Above This is where we learn to honor Creator in everything we do and say. It is from this perspective that we learn that all of life is actually a prayer. Nothing we do or are is ever hidden, all will be revealed in the end, so the best thing we can do is live our lives by the light we now have, and hope for the best possible results.

“From the stars we came, to the stars we shall return.”

Below This is the “Place” in our lives where we learn how to maintain our grounding in this plane of reality. Those who are truly aware have a tendency, unless they put forth a great deal of effort, to “wander off” into mental or astral realms, and forget that part of our mission is to learn to be “here, now”. In learning to be present in the here & now, we will learn to cope with what we have been given. {For most people, the animal that guides you here will be very much a clue as to what brought you back to live another life, and what will continue to bring you back until you resolve the issue.}

“Walk in balance, remembering always that we are astral beings living in bodies made of clay.”

Within This is our sacred space. This is the place within us that we are to hold separate, where no one else is welcome except by invitation. It is here we learn to honor our own boundaries and those of others. It is here we learn to appreciate who we are and what we have been given. It is here we learn not to desire to be someone else, it is here we learn that all “things” are held in stewardship, nothing is ever truly “owned”, so, even the act of stealing without intent to repay is a defilement of our own sacred space.

“Honor your own truth and walk your path accordingly.”

image004This is an encapsulation of the teaching, and by no means even comes close to the depth you can discover about yourself if you pay attention to what this has to say to you. When you display this symbol, or one like it, you are telling all around you that this is the teaching you honor with your life. There is no one among the elders that would prevent you from honoring their ways, but I suspect that any you would ask would also prefer that you walk with a light step, and a clean heart, serving Great Spirit, (Holy) with kindness and compassion for all that cross your path. Remember that the “First People” welcomed the first “Boat People”, it was the boat people that in an ungracious manner began the killing that swept across this land over the next few hundred years.


Sarcasm ~

sarcasmI have heard it said that sarcasm is a low form of humor. Actually, it is and it isn’t, it takes a bit of sophistication to get into a sarcastic frame of mind, but it also takes thinking you are better than those at whom you aim your sarcasm. The sad thing about this form of humor is that it always aims to destroy something in the other person. Most of the time, it is aimed at the heart, at the feelings of the goat at which the arrow is pointed. For those who care nothing for the heart of others, this is not a problem.

Sarcasm can indeed be used to good purpose, and it is not my job to tell you when and garfield10where to utilize it’s capacity to sting. But, one must be careful, I have been guilty of using this weapon without thinking and virtually bringing someone to their knees. I will not say they did not have it coming, I did not even apologize when I realized how deeply I had stung this person, but I will tell you that when you are considered one who listens to Spirit, you might want to be careful when and whom you wound, for with sarcasm, you will always wound unless the other person is so on their guard, you couldn’t get to them without the use of a handgun.

I will say that the person I so  wounded was in the habit of using not only deeply sarcastic humor toward all in her path, she was inclined to throw herself at any man within range. I had hinted more than once that she had gone too far with others in our work group. She blithely ignored my warnings, so one day it just came out of my mouth, and the next thing I knew, she was on the floor weeping. I am not necessarily proud of that, I forget sometimes and those sorts of things will fly. I have tried for nearly 25 years, since I deeply peterlwounded a friend of good intent with a casual remark that I had not intended to be so wounding with. That remark nearly ruined our friendship. I have learned caution since that time, and still find myself wrestling with it occasionally. That is the danger of getting into the habit of thinking sarcastically.

I will repeat, it is a useful form of humor, especielly if you are working on one who thinks for some reason they are better than those around them, I am simply saying, be mindful of your tongue and pen , they are weapons in their own right. Just remember, the instructions from those we consider past masters, i.e., the Buddha and Y’shua, are to be kind.

Interfaith ~

interfaithI love the attempts by those on an international level of work who continue to try to pull us together as one people, many faiths. It is a sad thing to say that there will probably always be extremes in each faith who will not work toward peaceful solutions. In each of these great faiths one can find teachings on compassion. What we need now is to see our neighbor as not just being an equal in G-d’s love, but also having equal rights regarding the path he or she follows before G-d. This includes a sense of equality for those who choose to believe there is no G-d.

I do not know the fate of each of us, and those who claim to know are usually taking someone else’s word for what they claim to know. I know what I think, I know what I feel, I even know what I have seen in my meditations and dreams. I believe that we do indeed reverberate at the level post mortem that we did pre mortem, which means that regardless of one’s belief system, if one was compassionate toward one’s fellows pre mortem, compassion will be given to that same individual post mortem. It’s a simple belief, and may indeed be too simple, but it works for me. It says that those who are judgmental in their lifetimes will be judged by the same measure afterwards, and yes, you guessed it.

I believe what Y’shua taught about life. The only reason that I do not believe he is born of God in some special way is that G-d told his children many times that this would not happen. I don’t believe G-d changed the Holy Mind, not one whit. I also do not believe Y’shua said those things to the people he was teaching since it would have gotten him a death sentence 3 months into his ministry, not 3 years into it.  I wish I could see the documents that were destroyed in Istanbul (Constantinople). I suspect, like many othersfitz_compassiondvd from scholars to layfolk, that there was much destroyed there that we need today.

I believe very strongly that compassion is the only thing that will save you or me from the fire of our own need for the One. It is compassion that is the healing balm of the soul, it is compassion that seeks help for all regardless of race or creed. It is compassion that keeps us from cradle to grave. When compassion has been denied a human being, they become darkened and withered inside. You can spout all the dogma you choose, you can insist that the cosmos exist by your pattern and no other, it matters not, only compassion will renew us and make us whole.

Renewal ~

inipi002Each year, as the calendar moves gently but inexorably toward the spring, we begin to think of renewal, of the rebirth of the plants that blanket our lawns and gardens, of the rebirth of life on all levels, including our own.  I remember being taught that Christianity taught rebirth of the soul through Jesus Christ, and that no other faith taught any sort of rebirth. I still wonder if that pastor knew what he said was a lie, or if it was just ignorance.

The Native American means of renewal or rebirth is the sweat lodge, or inipi, in the Lakota language of the Souix.  During that ceremony one enters the womb of the mother (Earth) and via the ceremony and ones sincere prayers experiences a literal rebirth upon exit from the lodge. I have been through this ceremony more than once, and that is not an exaggeration. There are purification ceremonies among the Buddhists, and among nearly every group that aims toward better or higher living among it’s adherents. Through these ceremonies, one “washes away” the past and is born anew, to deal with life from a new chartres2perspective. It is very effective, and, at least among the Natives of North America, one can repeat the process later, when it is necessary.

Even in Christianity one can access a renewal when it is needed. This is via the labyrinth, whether you use the Chartre path or another, the prayerful, meditational walk through the steps of a labyrinth can give one new insight into one’s life. Even in the lives of those who do not follow particular ceremonies, but who experience a quintessential spirituality just in the living from one day to another, there is a sense of renewal that automatically comes with the spring.

It is in the release from the snow, which often keeps us indoors unless we are a winter sports person, from the new warmth in the air, from the new flowers that blossom all over the place, everything simply feels new. This sense of renewal can give us new purpose, or revive the purpose we knew before, it doesn’t matter, it’s so refreshing and so wonderful. No faith has a stranglehold on this feeling, or it’s purpose, Mother Nature is the authoress, even for those who do not believe there is such a thing as the Holy Spirit. Amazing! Absolutely amazing!

spring-flowers-1

Romping with Otter ~

otter_frThe Otter is considered the most playful member of the animal kingdom, and indeed, their medicine is that of balanced femininity. They are one of my favorite totems. Their “time” according to Sun Bear is January 20th to Feb. 18th. (Yeah, you might know, Aquarius, which is my North Node.)

They are carnivores with a diet of primarily fish, and are part of the weasel family, being mustelidae. It is their playfulness that most people remember once you have been around them. A friend of mine who grew up on a farm in Indiana remembers River Otters that made their home on the shore of a creek that ran through their property. She chuckles every time she speaks of them, remembering them playing in the creek and sliding down the muddy banks.

In North America, the most common Otter is the River Otter, Lontra Canadensis. Their fur is sleek and they can weigh from 10 to 30 lbs.  It is their curiosity and intelligence, being one of the relatively few animals to use tools, that makes their “medicine” so strong. Their fur was once used frequently by the Holy men and women of the Native American tribes as “medicine bags”.

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