A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘Native American’ Category

Fourth of July~

I celebrate this holiday along with millions of US citizens, but it is also with a sadness in my heart. The European side of my bloodline took the land from the Native side of my bloodline. Yes, I have ancestors who were here to greet the first boat people. Had they known that the influx of pale skins meant what it did, I suspect the Natives would have been less hospitable. In fact, as the realization dawned on my red ancestors that the intentions of my pale ancestors was less than honorable, a long struggle for possession of the land began. The presumption that the Europeans were more “civilized” than the Natives is extremely debatable. That they were more advanced in firearms is not in question, that’s why the side won that did. But, might does not make right.

Truly there are many things in the history of my country that are a source of shame. Our leaders have often made poor decisions for which we have paid dearly later down the road. The assistance given Saddam Hussein comes jumping to mind. I have seen much that says that “right” has not yet prevailed as the final decision maker in our Capitol. Much is still needed to even begin to make it “right” with the Natives of this land.

But . . . . . .I will celebrate the ideals for which that flag stands, even in a world where idealism is “old-fashioned”. Freedom for ALL, Truth, Justice, Love of family and friends, kindness to neighbors, both nationally and personally, and the right to pursue happiness in all that entails. I pray for equality for all, I pray for objectivity for all, and compassion for all. I pray this holiday brings you these things in abundance!

Jesus was not the sin offering ~

Yeah, I know, that is a point of debate for many, but I have felt this to be the truth for a long time. I have recently found teachings online from observant Jews that show why this is the case. Here is an essay on why there was no need for bloodshed to absolve sins: here is commentary from a contemporary site for Jews. There are others and I will bring them in as I discuss this issue. Jews also believe that HaShem told them that  He would not incarnate,  Judaism 101 shows perhaps the most comprehensive list and references regarding why.

Now, here is where I depart slightly from general Jewish thought. I believe Jesus (Y’Shua) came for a specific ministry, not as a God-man, but as a guide, to help us find our way home. Please bear with me here, as this is ground I am still sifting, to find the truth for myself as well as to share on this blog. I have said before that I believe the four extant gospels were tampered with. What I now suspect is that, rather than tampering with something already written, the Greek scribes took lists, as you would find in the Gospel of Thomas, and wrote narrative that would fit with Constantine’s perception of the God-man. One of the reasons I believe this scenario to be close to the truth is that the 12 did not forsake their parent faith after his death, but continued to attend synagogue. If they had believed he were a God-man, they would simply have forsaken their Jewish roots, knowing that such a concept was unacceptable among their peers.

Within the extant gospels, I believe Y’shua’s teachings to have been preserved, albeit mixed so thoroughly with the scribes work,  so that one must filter and sift in order to find them. Filtering here, would require a thorough understanding of what Y’shua would not, or could not have said as a Jew, honoring the faith of his fathers. One of the things that has always struck me as somehow wrong, is that the church teaches a Jesus plus nothing doctrine in order to gain heaven, yet, Y’shua most emphatically stated that one must forgive in order that the Father might forgive us each our transgressions, he also taught that living a compassionate life fulfilled the law, in fact he said more than once that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. This implies that his ministry had another purpose altogether.

Throughout Y’shua’s ministry he speaks often and consistently of the Holy Spirit. It is this knowledge that brought me to the conclusion that places where he is said to have been speaking of himself, he may have been speaking of this emanation. For instance, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”, this passage could easily have been intended to be “The I Am is the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father save through the I Am.” As that phrase is often used in the Tanakh to speak of the very near, very clear, very now presence of God Very God, i.e. the Holy Spirit. If that measure of change has occurred in the gospels, and I believe it has, then the places where Y’shua appears to have been speaking of himself as the Source of eternal life, he may have been speaking of truths his Jewish followers could accept and understand.

Because of all these things, I have come to understand why the pastors in the churches I attended years ago were uncomfortable with “too much” study of the Old Testament, since one would discover that it was not an old covenant, but a very vibrant and living covenant that still speaks to us today. I am quite aware that there are many passages in the Tanakh that have little to do with life today, the treatment of women, for example, would not work in today’s world. But, here, you must look at the surrounding cultures and realize that the Mosaic Law treated women with much more respect that did the neighbors. I believe that perspective would need updated to fit now.

Now, however, comes the hard part. The ground explored in the above statements has been covered by others and is by no means new. If Y’shua did not perceive himself as abolishing the law, but rather fulfilling it, what was his purpose? Why would he put himself through the horrible ordeal at the hands of the Romans? I have seen with my own eyes and senses the power of the Native American holy men and women who have been through such ordeals in the quest for their own spiritual enlightenment, and have felt the “mighty rushing wind” from a holy man of the Lakota Sioux. It occurs to me that Y’shua may have been simply working through the power of his own “medicine” to open the door for the event that he spoke of in his teachings. That is to say, the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

What would this be for? Jeremiah speaks of a New Covenant, one I do not believe has yet come, (just look at the world today and observe that there is no peace in it.) Now, he may have been speaking of the time of the Moshiach, which, in spite of the Christian insistence that Y’shua was that person, is not here. What if Y’shua were preparing the way for that one to come? What if the Holy Spirit, dwelling with each of us as a guide, indeed, dwelling within us so that the law was written on our hearts, was his goal. It hasn’t happened, but then, his ministry was side-tracked by the God-man doctrine, and the Jesus plus nothing doctrine so that what could have happened within a generation if all had gone according to plan, has now seen many generations pass. I pray that the Holy Spirit write the law on my heart that I may serve Hashem in all his glory.

 

 

Feedback ~

Warning: This may be a very long post, read at your own peril:

Throughout the great scheme of things you secure a B+ for hard work. Exactly where you confused everybody was on your details. As it is said, details make or break the argument.. And that couldn’t be more accurate right here. Having said that, permit me say to you what did work. The text is certainly quite engaging and that is probably the reason why I am taking an effort in order to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, whilst I can notice a leap in reasoning you make, I am definitely not convinced of exactly how you seem to unite your ideas that help to make your final result. For now I will, no doubt yield to your point however trust in the foreseeable future you actually connect your facts better.

First of all, thank you for this feedback, I have been hoping to get someone’s critique on the writing, and though this is overall positive, you make a good point about the lightness of the facts presented. In the entire blog, I have presented most of the passages from the Bible and from other sources that I base my argument upon, but you would have to read the entire blog to get that, as they are pretty scattered. In the hopes of not boring my regular readership, I will go ahead and list many of them here, so that you may see them in one post. Forgive me for presuming that most do not want to slog through my many years of contemplation and study, I do understand that most are not into that kind of study in reading a blog, but concede to the need to make the argument clearer and better organized.

I would like to share with you the passages in the New Testament that had me questioning the interpretation of spirituality that was being given in the churches I had attended, mostly Pentecostal and Evangelical.

From John 14 ;12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Now, I had seen true miracles done in his name, and had seen wonders come through my own prayers, but had never witnessed anything that could be listed as being any greater than what the Master is said to have done, either through my hands or through the hands of others. We were either not doing enough, or not believing correctly, or this was a misquote. For many years I thought it might be that I was not believing him for the greater things.

But, wait, there were other passages that had me asking questions. (BTW, please, always, feel free to read the entire passage from which I quote, to do that here would make a post that will already be more than a long chapter longer, it would make it unreadable in one sitting, it may be anyway.) There was the passage in John 4,

32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Now, this has been interpreted many ways, usually to signify that rejection of the Christ would result in eternal damnation, as it was the Holy Spirit that brought Jesus to us. I had other questions that lead back to this, however. What of those who had never heard of him, or those who had heard of him from people who had murdered a person’s family, and therefore made it impossible to hear a gospel of love from them. And what about the idea that one could speak against Jesus himself, but be forgiven, but not be forgiven for speaking against the Holy Spirit, that would make the primary explanation circular, and therefore false.

What about the idea that the Holy Spirit has already spoken to the Ivrit (Jews), giving 600(+) mitzvot or commandments regarding conduct before God. What about the other people with whom there is evidence of awareness of the Holy Spirit, such as the Tao Te Ching , which, in several passages refers to one who can only be interpreted as the Holy Spirit; I have provided a link to one such translation, please take the time to read it, it isn’t that long, and is beautiful. What of Buddha’s teachings, so similar to Jesus’ ; they are spoken differently, and even formatted differently, and if you wish, I will make a post comparing them teaching by teaching. These are only a few examples of where and to whom the Holy Spirit has communicated, there are others, they are prolific, and I will take them example by example if you wish. (and enjoy the task, as it is something I love to contemplate!)

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Compassion-energy_JasonAllenMiller

There is a statement in 1John:4 7&8 that has become a mantra to me;

7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Now, I must digress and speak of the Holy Spirit, most profoundly and beautifully spoken of in Chapter 8 of Proverbs. Note, she is spoken of in the feminine, not the masculine as in the New Testament, because the church fathers did not want to have a comparison of their trinity teachings confused with the trinities from other faiths, Hinduism, Egyptian cosmology, Paganism, etc.. So, we must consider that she had transgendered, or perhaps the church fathers had arbitrarily decided to change her for their own purposes.The Holy Spirit, if I am correct, has spoken to all of compassion. It is here that I take my cue, that compassion is the primary purpose of our lives, we are here to learn to be compassionate with each other, against all odds! Here I also include the indigenous peoples of all the world, for when you study their take on cosmology, we are to be forgiving and to care.

Why I believe Y’shua may not have even implied he was God Incarnate;

During my journey of questions, I stumbled onto some things that were not taught in my Lutheran Catechism class.

♦ The God of the Jews, the God I thought of as my God had not actually insisted on a blood sacrifice for forgiveness of sin(a misconception in modern times, it meant shortcomings, imperfections in the original, not necessarily evil). This is stated several times in the OT but most markedly in Leviticus 5:11-13.

11 “‘If, however, they cannot afford two doves or two young pigeons, they are to bring as an offering for their sin a tenth of an ephah[a] of the finest flour for a sin offering. They must not put olive oil or incense on it, because it is a sin offering. 12 They are to bring it to the priest, who shall take a handful of it as a memorial[b] portion and burn it on the altar on top of the food offerings presented to the LORD. It is a sin offering. 13 In this way the priest will make atonement for them for any of these sins they have committed, and they will be forgiven. The rest of the offering will belong to the priest, as in the case of the grain offering.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. [Psalm 40:6]’”

Since I am not financially blessed, this would apply to me, and most of the folks who are a part of my circle, and means that it is not a requirement to sacrifice an animal for me to be forgiven. Though this was not hidden from me as a child in the church, neither was it pointed out. In fact, I was told that there was NO remission of sin without blood being shed for me by an animal or a Christ. I thought that the only way God forgave was through bloodshed. The more aware I became of the horrendous price paid on the cross, the less compassionate I thought God, to make anyone suffer so vastly for sins he had not committed, and for my sins to boot!

In my sojourn in the church, I had learned by implication that God was demanding, angry, vengeful, and unbending. People were put to death for walking into the sanctuary if they were not the right tribe, even. Children were put to death for not obeying their parents (I understand the temptation to wring an offspring’s neck sometimes, but, God?) And a God that didn’t understand that homosexuality wasn’t always a choice? Excuse me, if God made me, he can surely look into my heart and see what is there!  And, yes, I am taking the long way around to explain this point, but I will try to explain here all the reasons for my conclusions.

♦ The God of the Jews abhorred human sacrifice. Yes, the OT is clear on this, and states it several places.This is quoted from WhatJewsbelieve.org, just to make it a quick reference, to be sure, these references are commenting on the sacrifice of one’s sons and daughters to pagan gods, but then, we are all sons and daughters:

What does God say about human sacrifice in the TaNaCH? In Deuteronomy 12:30-31, God calls Human sacrifice something that He hates, and an abomination to Him, “for every abomination to the Eternal, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. In Jeremiah 19:4-6, God tells us that Human sacrifice is so horrible a concept to Him, that it did not even come into His mind to demand it from His creation, “They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind.” We see the same thing in Psalm 106:37-38, and in Ezekiel 16:20.

Though there are places online where you can find basic Jewish beliefs, they do not have a central governing body that decides what is heretical and what is not, so there are many areas where there are differences in beliefs from one sect to the next, much the same as Protestants in the Christian faith. I realize I am using Jewish commentary on this, but I do trust the rabbis to be more in tune with what the Tanach says regarding their beliefs, and what the meaning of the verses truly is. I am an Egalitarian in my beliefs, so I am not always in tune with Jewish tradition, either. I do not believe it is right to attempt to own another human, I believe that Homosexuality is not wrong, I believe that pedophilia is completely wrong, I hear voices, and I have seen things in my mind as in visions that have come true, and I may be crazy, (it’s why I share what I believe rather than attempt to tell others this is the way they should believe)

♦If Y’shua had made the implications or said some of the things he is recorded to have said, he would have been stoned to death, as the Mosaic Law was still practiced fully in his time.That means that there are passages that may have been tampered with quite a bit to read the way they read in today’s New Testament. This may be a result of faulty understanding by the translators from the Aramaic notes that would have been available to the Greek and Roman scribes that would have been responsible for those translations, or it may be a true revision of the manuscripts for political reasons. For what ever reason may apply, there are things that he is supposed to have said that make more sense with minor changes. For instance, he is supposed to have said, “I am the way, the truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me.” This would have gotten him stoned, immediately. But, with minor changes, he may have said, “The I Am ( a name used for the very near, very here presence of God) is the way, the truth and the life, No man comes to the Father except through the I Am.” very minor changes, very major change in meaning. This could easily have happened because the yod is added at the front of a word to say, “the”. Easily missed, easily misunderstood.

There are places in the four gospels that feel unchanged, others that feel like there are major revisions. I was taught that the model for prayer that is called the “Our Father” was original with Y’shua, and showed a stroke of his genius, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned that it was a part of Kaddish, the prayers said for the dead. I was taught that there was no other faith that used the baptism as a means of cleansing the soul to prepare for regeneration, so you can imagine my shock when I first experienced a sweat lodge at the invitation of my Shawnee teacher, the concepts run deeper, actually, but the result is the same, a newness of life and understanding. I was taught that there was a blood red line that ran through the Old Testament that testified to Y’shua’s coming. Imagine how frustrating it was to learn that the books that had been excluded from the Tanach had been excluded because they had nothing to do with Y’shua or his coming.

♦I was frustrated, and spoke of it to more than one pastor, that Paul’s words were treated with the same sense of authority as Y’shua’s words. That wasn’t right in my book then, it really isn’t now, as I have found that they take Christianity so completely away from it’s Judaic roots, that it is a Hellenized approach to faith. Paul was a very spiritual, but very human individual with faults that are difficult for me to accept in humans today. One such can be found in Corinthians. In the first letter he berates a man and his sexual practices, having coupled with his wife and her mother. In the second letter he recognizes that this was not the case, but tells them it was all for their good anyway. I really dislike people that do that, and won’t go back to a church where I find the pastor acting like that.

To be sure, there are spots in his letters that I thoroughly enjoy, even in the same letters where he errs. 1Corinthians chapter 13 is as beautiful a recitation on Love as any I have ever read, anywhere. Yet, in some of his epistles, or most specifically one that is supposed to be his, 1Timothy, he basically says women should be kept barefoot and pregnant. Grrrrr! He is pictured here preaching atop the monument in Athens to an unknown God. I would not mind so much his railing against Pagans if he and those who came after him had not made Paganism so much a part of Christianity. This entire passage can be found in the book of Acts in the New Testament.

Well, forgive me, please, I digressed a bit from my point in this section that Y’shua would not have called himself God, but I hope I am making more sense at this point.  If not, I hope you will give me feedback to that, too. I do want to make my point clear and easily understood. I am not here to impress, I am here to communicate. Thanks again for reading my blog!!

Turtle “medicine”

The turtle is a slow-moving, methodical creature, carrying its protection constantly with it. It can teach the journeyer to be grounded, how to stay in tune with Earth energies, the wisdom of flowing with the cycles of life, and to be gentle with the body's needs.

This is the fourth elemental in Native American Cosmology, representing “earth” energy.  As the caption of our turtle picture reads, it is a teacher of “Grounding”, remembering that reality, whether pleasant or not, must be tended to, daily, to remain useful in this plane. We who tend to “journey” in meditation, need to practice this a bit more than is probably done.

I just finished a Sci-Fi film, high action, with Bruce Willis, so I knew it would be lots of action before starting to watch it. Surrogates; quite a thinker, and not far from reality in our booming techno world. The story line, without giving it away completely is about the entire population becoming addicted to living through surrogate robots that live our daily lives for us. Talk about taking us out of reality and keeping us there, nobody was grounded!

The world we have created for ourselves is busy, busy, busy, and it is difficult to retain a connection with Mother Earth when you are always on the go. Take time to put your feet on the ground, bare if possible, and enjoy the feel of the cool green earth. Enjoy the cool spring air, and the flowers blooming everywhere. Love yourself enough to go to a park, or out in the country and feel, yes feel the earth as she reawakens after winter.

Hug a tree, I know that’s what they call us anyway; Tree-Huggers.  BTW, just a little off track, but still part of the Earth energy, did you know that with all the products and things we consider necessary it takes nearly 20 trees per person to erase each human’s carbon foot print? Plant a tree, plant several, you will not only be renewing the earth by doing so, you will be helping yourself as well.

In aligning with turtle “medicine”, you will find yourself concerned with all aspects of going “green”. Remember, and there is a small book you can get at Amazon.com called the “Green Book” , you can pick it up at any good book store, just gave you the link to make it easy, the goal of the book is to help you make small choices daily that add up to lots of change in the long run, but each step you take, each change you make, small or large, will ultimately help us keep the planet from flicking us off, hopefully, like a bunch of flees, when she needs to change her cloak.

Holy Spirit, part 3

This has been like a scavenger hunt, following a string around the world. Impossible for me except via the web. The Holy Spirit has been found speaking to people on all continents, in many different ways. I followed her through the Tao te Ching. The writings in that missal, in any translation I have read, indicate that she it was who inspired this work. I have read several parts of the Quran, and though there are places where I do not recognize the voice, there are others where her voice rings true. I have had the great pleasure of learning oral teachings from both a Shawnee elder, and from two Lakota elders; her teachings are embodied and followed in their traditions.

I have studied Buddhism, and still study it, and have found that, though this is taught from the human side of the coin, the path that is followed there is hers, through and through. I cannot tell you that I know why She would teach a humanist path to enlightenment, I only know that Buddhism is, throughout it’s practice, a teaching from the Holy Spirit. It has occurred to me, and this seems almost blasphemous, that she considers compassion and kindness so important to the honoring of The One, that she would bring it into play even where there is no reckoning with The Ancient beyond Imagination. Perhaps, and this is something we are a long way from learning, it is kindness and compassion that are truly the forms of worship the Holy One desires.

If this is actually the case, there is no faith on Earth that completely reflects her truth. There are some that come close. Buddhism,emphasizing this as the path, that, even though humanist, comes closest of them all. It is Buddhism and it alone that speaks of learning to see all other humans as our brother, our sister, our mother, our father. It is Buddhism that teaches kindness, study and detachment from troubling emotions as the path to enlightenment. Even Y’shua’s path, so similar in it’s teachings has been skewed and twisted so that those who profess to follow him will maim and destroy other humans in his name. I am quite grateful that they do not call themselves Holy Spirit students, as this would completely blaspheme the purpose she so tirelessly seems to be attempting to teach us.

Perhaps, when we learn to stop injuring others in the name of God, when we learn to stop injuring our children so that they learn to sublimate their emotions and thereby become criminals, rapists, and murderers, we will draw closer to God in all aspects of our lives. Perhaps when we learn that NO human is chattel to be purchased and used at our disposal, we will draw closer to enlightenment in all it’s glory. Until then, we have a long way to grow.

The Sparrow

I have been contemplating for some time the whole thing about the “Good News”. I do not believe Jesus was telling people that his death on the cross was going to save them, so what was HE talking about when he spoke of the “Good News”? Well, actually, that doesn’t take a whole lot to think about. What was the thrust of his entire ministry? The very here, very near, very now presence of God very God in the role of loving parent. Every time he spoke that was recorded in the four extant gospels, that was the subject, or so much a part of the subject as to be completely integral with it.

OH!

Yes! God as loving parent. Not Y’shua the savior, but Y’shua the big brother, who brought us the message that God wasn’t just a stern judge hanging over us like a plague on our lives, but a gentle, caring, nurturing presence to lean on in the good times and the bad. Yeah, think about it, God very God cares about you and me, each of us, as though he were our Daddy or Mommy. Does that put a different slant on all those lessons we haven’t been learning? It should. It does for me. My Native American friends call the Holy Presence Tonkashila, Grandfather. Nothing wrong with that, those fortunate enough to have a living grandparent often find themselves more able to talk to their grandparents about the issues that mess with them than their parents. And that was Y’shua’s point exactly.

God is there for us to talk to, to listen to, and to ask advice from. What a major blessing is that perspective. When we are troubled about anything, we have an adviser we can turn to at that very instant without leaving the place we are in. Just ask.  And another part of that perspective turns out to be the whole thing about the sparrow. Such a tiny common little bird. Thousands of them exist worldwide. Yet, not one of them falls from the sky that it is not marked by the Holy Presence! How can I not love a God that cares for me like that?!

I know I have gotten a bit gushy about how much Dad loves us, and I hope you will forgive me for that gush. If it helps any, today is my 58th birthday, so I can feel a little entitlement to gush about love, eh? However, the “thing” that got me thinking about this aspect of our relationship with the Most High may be a debate I had entered yesterday afternoon with some fellow members of a forum I participate in at Smallworlds.com. We were discussing the rights and wrongs of homosexuality. A tender subject, at best, and one that can lead to a bit of bombast from the religious on that or any other forum.

I do not take a stance on whether this lifestyle is a right or wrong, I am straight, so perhaps it’s not even any of my business. And that, dear reader, is the stance I took on the forum. I believe my part in this world is to love, not to judge, and I also find that the Native American perspective regarding those who are referred to as He/She, is a far better perspective than that practiced by those of us reared in the Judeo-Christian perspective. That stance is that the homosexual has a place in the tribe that is a wonderful spot of communication between the males and the females, carrying, as it were, the ability to see both sides of any argument offered with gender bias. I like it. For me it more perfectly reflects the loving parent that is God, and allows every member of the tribe a place in that tribe’s function. No fuss, no violence, no name calling. What a concept.

There are a couple of other things I would like to mention about that. Y’shua did not comment on homosexuality as a sin to be dealt with in his ministry, though, if you read the Sermon on the Mount with any eye toward completeness, he doesn’t leave any of the other “personal” sins untouched. I cannot say what he thought of it, he did not speak of it. I can say that his omission of it is obvious enough to make us think twice about making it an issue in our relationships with those around us. Those who quote from the New Testament about homosexuality quote from Paul’s writings, (remember always that, though Paul had some valuable things to say, he was the one apostle that did NOT walk at Y’shua’s side, so may not have known the Big Brother’s stance on this tender subject.)

I guess all that I would ask of my fellow pilgrims is this: if the person you are associating with is compassionate, and brings as little harm to others or the environment as possible, why do you need to make his or her lifestyle your business? Is not the Holy One capable of making any judgment calls without your contribution? Then, out of compassion for all, let it be. Love to you and yours this blessed day!!!

Hatred, anger, interference, why?

MB1There was a question on Daily Buddhism that is one that baffles all who have entered a path of enlightenment, no matter the faith of origin or place in the world at large. When one makes choices that go contrary to the social “norm”, one is sometimes accosted by physically or verbally violent reactions from others. The question was how to deal with this. But my question for many years has simply been, why?

I come from a Christian background, but about 25 years ago gave up on the sect I was with, feeling that they could not or would not follow Y’shua’s teachings to love. The general actions of the congregants seemed, in fact, to be something quite the opposite, at least of the person was not of “Our Church”. The insistence was that we were not to love those who were outside the faith, as they were apostate and “not really human”, well, that was never said, but that was the feeling one got.

My problem was that Y’shua had dealt with just that phenomenon. His comment was that “Publicans love their own, what benefit to us if we behaved no better?” That’s a paraphrase, but then everything read from the manuscripts is paraphrased in order for us to understandJesus the wording and syntax of the sentences. But, there it is, what do we benefit if we behave in a manner that is like those who follow no spiritual path of any kind?

In my explorations after that, I found that the Buddhists as a rule were more obedient to those teachings than those who followed the Christ. It was in looking at why they were obedient to Christ, when Christ’s own seemed unable, that I began to realize that there is this “position” that the human spirit adapts all too easily. That is, “I am right, you are wrong, you must suffer.”  This way of looking at the position of others as ”wrongness” that somehow affects one’s own well-being, indeed, seems rampant in the Western world.

Such an attitudes still puzzles me. There seem to be two extremes here in the West. Either there is an intense caring of what others think to the intent to control those thoughts, or be controlled by them, or there is an extreme diffidence that borders on a sort of personality disorder of detachment from all connection with others; neither is healthy. If we maintain an attitude of what I have learned to think of as compassionate detachment, we can cope with the daily struggle without letting it overload us.

So, what is that? It’s the willingness to look at the behavior of others as “their issue”, knowing that there is little we can do to “make” them see the world differently without some manipulation of their world or ours, while deeply caring that they are happy in so far as it lies within our purvue. Happiness comes from within. We cannot “make” someone else truly happy. We can do our best to please them, or at least not to offend them, but we cannot make them feel contentment within. That is something they must discover for themselves.

I still don’t know why we are so bound in this part of the world to insist that others live their lives by our rules. The only thing that makes any buffalowhite3sense to me is that it is quite possible the unhappy one has chosen a life other than the one they truly wanted in order to meet someone else’s expectations, and the “different one’s” choice to live an idiosyncratic life hits a soreness within. That is sad. But it makes a sort of strange sense, doesn’t it?

It is for this reason that I respect a Native American teaching imparted to me by my Lakota and Shawnee teachers. “Follow your own truth”. You are expected to do this prayerfully and respectfully of others, but you are expected to find the path you are to walk from within yourself, not from what others want of you. It seems to me to be a right way to live. I hope someday our culture will evolve enough to teach that to our children.

As I Understand “it” ~

raven_ac_small1I have posted a lot on this blog, and will continue to post here. I have posted also on Hubpages. I want to make it clear, however, that when I post, it is generally my opinion. Yes, I do quote other references, and yes, I do comment what I have understood as other perspectives, but I want very much to reiterate, for all and sundry that most of the time, what you are getting when you read my work, is simply my opinion.

I am a Libra, with a Taurus moon, Gemini rising. That means I love beauty, can be stubborn, but will usually try to get my way through gentleness rather than bullishness. But, I can be a bit bullish.tiffanybutterflypng Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean I am proud of those traits, that’s just my star chart. I have lived in this body for 56 years, and am studying and applying myself daily to learn to be less willful, desiring to be more like the teachers I consider to have most affected my life. That would be Y’shua and Buddha. There are, of course, many teachers along the way whose interpretations of the great ones have been quite influential in my life and my perspective. I have also been priviledged to study under a Lakota teacher and a Shawnee teacher. Both of whom have taught me wonderful things regarding the spiritual life.

One of my favorite authors is Huston Smith, his Religions of the World is one of the best, simply because he attempts to be objective, and did his research from inside each path to Spirit, rather than from the outside looking in. Another favorite of mine is Sun Bear, an Ojibwe teacher whose books carry much teaching in traditional lore, and who attempts to translate the Ojibwe perspective into something livable on a daily basis, even by those of us who are mostly of wasichu blood.

serenitywmatThe swan has been a teacher of mine since childhood, when I related to the story of the Ugly Duckling, by Hans Christian Anderson. I enjoy exchanging opinions with others, and quite frankly would enjoy input from others whose opinions may not be the same as mine. Thanks for reading my posts.

Su

The Sacredness of “8” ~

gentledanceThere are eight beatitudes, the approach to life taught by Y’shua, there is the Eightfold path to enlightenment taught by the Buddha, and there are the Eight sacred directions, as taught by the Native American holy people. All of these 8’s have to do with the way one who wishes to be truly happy and live a balanced life, will walk his or her path on Earth.

I love the perceptions provided by these 8’s. One of the things that cannot be avoided is the different places on the earth where they came to “be”. The Native American Path, The Beauty Way, is, of course, very New World, originating, at least on the surface, very much in the Americas. The Eightfold Path of the Buddha began in India, and has been well known throughout southeast Asia for centuries. The Beatitudes, though deliberately not taught as a path by the church fathers lest outsiders be able to point out the similarities to other perspectives, originates, for our purposes with Y’shua, a gentle teacher of principles from the Middle East. When you look at this from a global perspective, there can be no mistake, there it is, the evidence that there is one Holiest of Spirits whose work it is to teach us foolish children how to behave. Call her Sacred Mother, if you wish, for she is, in her own way, a Mother to us all.

global_map_8Her ways and her teachings of compassion and respect for the value of others has broken out all over the world. She is not bound by culture, for if you wish to approach her, and learn from her, she is vastly available, just ask. (Proverbs chapter “8”) (hm, there’s that eight again.) To the Native American perspective she is Grandmother Iktomisha, taken from her ability to weave the warp and woof of reality as we know it, not unlike the spider in nature. Does she look like a spider? I don’t know, though, I have seen her in vision as a glowing light, and I suspect she can appear as she would choose to do, or as you are capable of accepting her.

She is not the Old One, that one is her Creator, progenitor, yet, she is so powerful, that many of old would have worshipped her as the all in all. That does not seem to please her, for I have asked. NO! I was told, she is companion to the One. I suspect she has communicated similarly with others, I am not claiming anything unique. I believe that it is quite possible that many with whom she communicates will not so admit, because there infinityare many who will call us simply crazy. Yet, crazy or not, it cannot be denied that if we were all to live by those golden rules, take them from the Natives of America, from Y’shua, or from the Buddha, this would be a peaceful place in which to live. Hm, okay, I’ll be crazy if that’s what you call it.

The Web of the Universe ~

162571main_gpb_circling_earth3_516I am forever fascinated when science “catches up” with the visionary truths of the past. The television show was the Discovery program, The Known Universe. The discussion on this particular show centered around the fabric of  “Space-time” and the way it’s fabric is “warped” by the gravity of planets and other heavenly bodies where they are. The pic is from NASA, so it’s not something that I dreamed up, it is apparently known and accepted science. In fact, I would suspect from what I see from very good sources, that I could consider myself behind the curve, were it not for the fact that, in studying Native legends and teachings, I already “knew” about it.

Yeah, too funny, eh? The legendary teachings have to do with one of those Spirits whose gramstornedgeswork it was to put the Old One’s vision into discernible manifestation. She is Grandmother Iktomisha, Gradmother white spider. She it is who wove the “web” that holds things in space-time. Grandmother’s “medicine” is creativity on all levels.  She is the inspiration for writers, musicians, artists, scribes,  and all who work with communication in a creative fashion.

When I learned this particular legend I laughed for days. It is no wonder we are NOT to put a face on the Old One, on Hashem! The Spirits involved in creating our world are too varied and too different from us bodily for us even to imagine their appearance accurately. Furthermore, whatever “bodies” they may have do not exist in this particular time-space continuum.

binary-waveWhen we attempt to pin down what a Holy Spirit looks like, it is with the intent, no matter how subliminal of categorizing that spirit, and gaining a foothold on attempting to control that spirit. We humans are mere dust specks in the Universe. To attempt to control one of the Great Ones is simply laughable. It is our job to learn to ride the waves. It is our job to find the flow of Spirit and do our best to reside there. It shouldn’t be all that difficult, we are given lifetimes to learn to do it while wearing bodies. Though that, indeed, seems to be the problem. It is not difficult to ride those waves when we are in spirit, it is these dense bodies that get in the way, with their senses and weight that holds us down.

deltablue

Change, the only constant in the Universe

And then there is the primary challenge. We not only need to learn to ride the waves, understanding that the only constant is change, we need to learn to ride them with continuously  growing love and compassion for our fellow travelers. Now, you may tell me you are quite up for the challenge. Good for you. I try to be. But I will guarantee you that I do falter on more than just the rare occasion.  I wish all that travel beside me the very best and can only hope that each of us has the strength to weather the storms.

Balance and Blessings to you,

Su

Hummingbirds ~

bryans2I adore these little guys. They are so tiny, and you must watch your feeders closely or you will miss their presence altogether. They are swift, silent, bright little dots lightening up the day of anyone who gets the pleasure of seeing one. In fact, that is their medicine, they are “Bringers of Joy”.

There is much more to hummingbird medicine than just their joyous energy, the Native peoples see the hummer as a symbol, often of one who gets quickly to the heart of a matter because of that wonderful beak. There are only a few of the bird family that can hover in flight, and the hummer is one of those who can. Sunhummingbird4 Bear, my favorite resource for animal totems, gives the medicine of “clarity” to the hummingbird folks. What wonderful medicine, for it is only as we see clearly that we can progress as individuals, or as a people. They don’t just hover, they can fly backward, forward, and sideways as well. No wonder they are thought to bring clarity, they look at things from all sides!

The Hummer has been thought for many generations to bring love into one’s life. This medicine was considered so strong that there were those who would dry and grind the heart of the hummingbird and use it to create love potions. I am glad that most, today, would much rather simply watch these little acrobats.

Their feathers are irridescent, making them catchers of the light to bring it into the lives or those they touch, and are  most often shades of green or teal, very much attuned to the heart chakra, and the healing of it.  If you suffer depression, these are wonderful birds to watch or meditate on, for even thinking of them, once you have watched them at any length will bring a smile to your eyes.

The Medicine of the Song Bird ~

c_o_pThe message the Songbirds bring us is an affirmation of life, and the fact that, against pretty impressive odds, it’s worth making a try at doing one’s very best to “make it work” as an individual. Now, this will mean different things for different people. For some this affirmation will be about life itself, and finding meaning in the fact that we exist at all. This is part of the message of the Cardinal.robin

For others this will be about healing from early childhood traumas, so there may be more than one bird as a totem that will work with that person, depending on their age when the trauma occurred. For instance, if the trauma was the abuse of a parent who could not handle the stresses of child-rearing, The birds may range from red through to green, goldfinchinvolving  all of the early years of development from self, through community through how we relate to others, and whether we can even learn to love.  So that, perhaps a robin, with that beautiful orange breast heralding the spring, or a Goldfinch, the little yellow canary of the midwest, as well as the Cardinal may be part of the early healing that must take place. It is about at the age of four when the heart chakra develops, reference Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss, and the bird of choice to use would be the hummingbird, whose medicine is love and hummingbird_3joy. The bluebird would do well for healing of the throat chakra, and look, we have another bird with an orange breast which would help with the healing of the self image. This is all about healing, and ibluebirdt is your choice as to whether you are easier meditating on butterflies or birds, or any other creature whose appearance and ways could lift your spirits and help you with the bumps and bruises of life.

There are so many ways to meditate and contemplate the songbirds, you can become a backyard birder, feeding them, providing safe housing for them, and learning the ways simply by observation. Along with this, borrow some bird identification books from the local library, or get an inexpensive one soindigo-bunting you can keep it by the appropriate window. The Peterson feild Guide is inexpensive at Amazon.com And a couple of the pictures here are linked to Whatbird.com, that is a marvelous online source for identifying birds until you can afford your own.

If you are not afraid to pick up a pencil and draw, even looking at a photo to draw the bird, as drawing itself is not unlike meditation, there comes a point prettymartinwhen one is, as in the vernacular, “in the zone”. If you are not an artist, then trace the bird, even artists use this method to get specifics right, and color it using a set of color pencils. If you excell at imaginary friends, talk to the bird in your imaginary “garden”, see if it answers you, though if it tells you negative things, run, don’t walk to the gate that leads out of that garden. Find an aviary near you and just go observe the birds, listen to them. Connect with them. You will find that if you adopt this as a hobby it will be healing even when you are not aiming toward healing, but just learning about the birds.

Su

The Barbarians ~

fur-coat-full-length-2a-009-w298What is a barbarian? What constitutes being civilized? When has the line been crossed so that all will see an act as barbaric? There really are no answers to those questions, because it is all  in the point of raccoon5view of the culture from which we come. The beautiful fur coat that you see here to the left, it’s raccoon fur. They are awfully cute little guys, and if you have ever watched them, they seem pretty self aware. They use tools, and can be considered pests just because of that. So, because they are inconveniently aware of their surroundings we kill them for their fur? Hm, the same argument could be used for killing humans. We must seem like pestilence to most of the animal kingdom.

I like leather. Most of the leather I use comes from bovine sources. So it is for most of America. We are red meat eaters. (I’m not much anymore,  not because I do not like the taste of it, but because I am a heart patient, and can only have red meat once a week, so stick with chicken and fish for most of my protein.) But, what of killing the cow that provided the leather and the meat? Did it “deserve” death? Was it killed in a compassionate manner? (that seems a strange question, but look at the kosher laws of the Ivrit, and you will see what I mean, and that can seem to be enlightened self interest, for if an animal is not afraid when it dies, the hormones of that response are not in the meat that will  be consumed by the humans killing it.)

storyteller-holymanThe Native American perspective has been one that seems rather civilized,( for being heathens). Yeah, remember that one of the Popes declared Native Americans to be soulless, therefore killable. GADS, what a horrible error in judgment. Lord, what fools we mortals be! Back to civilization: The Lakota Souix, from whom I learned a great deal about Native American perspectives, and remember that is just one tribe, not the entire back of Grandmother Turtle, taught me to thank Creator for any sacrifice made by any thing that had life before I use it. Now, that isn’t just animals, that’s plants as well, and rocks, which carry a slower more ponderous energy, but definitely carry energy of their own. And the question returns, just who is the barbarian, here?

The Vision Quest ~

bluelotusmandalaThis eight point symbol, or star, is used by the Lakota to signify the Morning Star, the Spirit from which each Lakota asks guidance for their life path. That is the purpose of a ceremony called the “Vision Quest”. Though it sounds a bit romantic, I would caution you that it is several days of fasting and praying on a hill, away from others, in rain or shine. The attitude of the Holy men of the tribe is that it is serious business, not a game. Yet, here is one of the reasons I have so much respect for my brothers and sisters that live this walk.

This is a query set before Spirit regarding each individual and the life that one person should lead in order to honor who they are as a child of the Universe. The query is not about what my neighbor should do, or my Pastor, wren_carolinabut about me, and what I should do. And it is not about conforming with the “crowd”. It is about learning to handle the person you are in a manner that honors Creator. If you are a person who carries, say, wren medicine, you are not expected to conduct your life in the same manner as one who carries badgerbadger medicine. Each of us, indeed carries more than one “medicine”, and some may carry both wren and badger. It is, in fact, the medicine combinations you carry, and how you choose to honor them that makes you into the unique individual before the tribe. A lot of folks raised in the European fashion, as in “Take what you can get and run!” (We are called the “fat-grabbers”, or Wasichu, when we behave in this way,) want to claim the big medicines, such as eagle and bear, and buffalo, rather than important but “quiet” medicines, such as wren or mouse. It truly is not about the “size” of the medicine you carry, it is about the way you carry your medicine.

One other thing, while we are discussing this particular concept, did you note the business hopemandalaabout the Morning Star, when I opened this post? There is a Christian hymn that speaks of Yeshua as being the bright and Morning Star. I believe that, and he most certainly is that to me. Not God incarnate, but the Morning Star, set in the sky to guide me, and all who will follow his teachings. You may call the Native American heathen, if you are that foolish, though I suspect you had best be careful, for it is the sin against the Holy Spirit that is the one that cannot be forgiven, and I think calling Native Americans anything but “brother” or “sister” in the faith, would make for just that kind of sin.

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