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Monday, June 28, 2010

Indigenous spirituality - from Cherokee to Dreaming

An integral part of Desert Spirituality is respect for First Peoples everywhere and respect for their spiritual beliefs. Those of us who have become settler peoples in the lands of First Nations have much to learn from them: of the land, other species, environment and ecology as well as the matters of the spirit. Where possible the desert spirit wishes to establish friendly and respectful relationships with indigenous people to the benefit of all of us. This below is a small contribution to these insights. Hat Tip to Eagle Man of Rosebud for passing it on.

Cherokee Legend

Do you know the legend of the Rite of Passage
to adult hood of the Cherokee youth?

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone.
 He is required to sit on a stump the whole night.  He must not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it.  He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night, 
as he passes from dasy to night to dawning, 
he is a man.
He cannot tell the other boys of this experience.  
Each onemust come into manhood on his own.

The boy is terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts seem to be all around.  Perhaps some human might do him harm. The wind blows the grass and earth, and shakes his stump, but he sits stoically, never removing the blindfold.  This is the only way for him to become a man.

Finally, after a horrific night
the sun appears and he removes his blindfold.

It is then that he discovers his father sitting on the stump next to him.  
He has been at watch all through night, protecting his son from harm

We, too, are never alone.   Even when we don't know it, God -  the Creator Spirit - is watching over  us,  sitting on the stump beside us.   When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out.

If you liked this story, pass it on.  
If not, you took off your blindfold before dawn.

Moral of the story:
Just because you can't see God - the Creator Spirit,
Doesn't mean He is not there.
"For we walk by faith, not by sight

 Further reading and listening:

Mother Earth Spirituality: Native American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World (Religion and Spirituality) 

Walk with Spirit, a Native American Approach to Spirituality 

Tribal Winds: Music From Native American Flutes

Religious Business: Essays on Australian Aboriginal Spirituality

Aboriginal Spirituality & Biblical Theology: Closer Than You Think


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