Author Topic: Eagle Man discusses the question: What is Natural Spirituality?  (Read 1456 times)

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Eagle Man discusses the question: What is Natural Spirituality?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2012, 08:50:44 AM »
Eagle Man (Ed McGaa) discusses the question: What is Natural Spirituality?



Simply, it is the deep reverence for the power that lies within all of which we observe especially when we are surrounded by pure, undiluted Nature.

Let us begin with what it is not. For the folks who simply want to revere Nature as a direct Creation of some Great Mystery, Natural Spirituality does not proselytize. Nature-ism has no controlling, dogma spewing hierarchy, and has no organization other than the intrinsic empowerment, a Great Mystery Creator (Higher Force, to some) has so specifically endowed each and every particle of surrounding Nature. I believe that the more knowledge we have of Nature, the more enhancement our spiritual self receives and henceforth progresses to a more harmonic and positive plane. True Natural Spirituality is devoid of human control or man-made devised fear. Superstition should not be attached by mere human regardless of those who are foolish enough to listen to falsifying detractors.

Basically, a 'Naturist' or a true 'Nature Spiritualist' bases one's belief system on natural observation. I refuse to accept the term 'Pagan'. If you can't see or experience what Creator has allowed before you, backed up by what Science also cannot observe or indicate, then there is basically a higher probability that man-made claims constantly cast before you, just may not exist and such claims should be classified as simple superstition of which the world unfortunately abounds in. This supposition of course, rules out Satans, Devils and their various forms of associates, witches on brooms, werewolves (despite Papal Edicts), curses, conjurations, 'holy orders', 'holier writs', pigs that fly and let us not leave out the Abominable Snow Man or 'Sasquatch'. This holding should turn off many readers, as humans are deeply prone to believe in all forms of so-called fairly tales, to the extremes of so-called "Black Magic" or 72 awaiting virgins for Jihadic warriors. Many detractors challenge Darwin and the many wondrous and accurate measurement tools of science, insisting that human and the livable planet has been in existence but a few thousand years. These types become quite angry and unreasonable when their gross superstitions are refuted.
Sacralization vs. Desacralization

'A simple yet deep reverence for the power that lies within.' My personal supposition is that the old time North American Indian did cultivate a remarkable insight into this rewarding, sacralizing attitude. The European newcomers desacralized Nature and we are now experiencing the tragic results. Many Indians believe that the European's real God is materialism. Fortunately for the American Indian, a great ocean kept them insulated for centuries but alas we all know what took place. I do not believe the American Indian "owns" any of the Nature-istic beliefs however, anymore than the ancient Celts did. Both belief systems are remarkably similar, at least when comparing Siouan and Celtic. Some Native Americans think that they do, and have recently placed 'bans' on some forms of their ceremonial practices. I do not think human can be 'banned' by mere man from seeking solace on a mountain top or a badland butte and beseeching for a period of time to their concept of their Higher Power. Did not Christ and Moses go out into Nature for spiritual communication? I also do not think the practice of entering a steaming lodge to beseech with a group to their Higher Power upon the floor of Mother Earth should be attempted to be banned by mere human. Various European Ethnic groups utilized steaming lodges for centuries for spiritual beseechment. I do believe that in the interest of human harmony and respectful friendship that if the Plains Indians do not want non-tribal members using their peace pipe for ceremonial beseechment, then why not offer back a respect for that request and go on and beseech (pray) without one? Does the God of one's choice (Creator) really care? I have been utilizing a small stone that happened to flash in a streambed to gain my attention (four times, no less) after my 2nd sun dance, out of a Black Hills stream. It has been my beseechment 'wotai' (wotawe) ever since.
Truth

Most 'traditional' practicing Native Americans will state candidly, "I do not know exactly who Creator (God) is!" when asked the question 'Who is your God or who do you think God is?' The all knowing White Man emphatically states exactly who God is and implicitly describes a Spirit World beyond, and of course threatens great punishment for those who do not comply with his specific instructions on how to get there. A traditional Indian has too much regard for Truth, to make such misleading statements. They recognize the extreme amount of real Truth abounding in Nature to make exotic statements of which observable proof is seriously lacking. Generally, if an Indian has not observed it, they will never make misleading comments about what they have not observed. That is why it was so difficult for them to believe in the white man's conjurations, especially so, when none were observable. A Creator they believe in and admit having never 'seen', they see enough of Creator's Creations that it is obvious to them; a Great Higher Power, Great Mystery and/or Great Spirit exists and furthermore it is quite obviously, benevolent. It is also regarded as a supremely 'Truthful' power. Their suppositions of a Spirit World beyond differ considerably from what the White Man forced them to believe when the Indian's spiritual ways, ceremonies and beliefs were federally banned for almost a century. From the 1880s to the Freedom of Religion Act recently passed by Congress in 1978, Native American religion or Spirituality was banned. This unconstitutional practice was effective for most tribes. The Oklahoma tribes are deeply converted to the White Man's belief system. Native Spirituality among the Northern Plains did not die out during this time however, it simply went underground. The Sioux were one of the major tribes to keep their ceremonies, culture, customs and language intact, and a resurgence of Nature-based spirituality is well underway among all age groups especially on Sioux (Dakota/Lakota) reservations. Proselytizing missionaries now have little influence.
The Six Powers

Bill Moyers interviewed Joseph Campbell and asked what was the best example that the noted mythologist found in his worldly travels to illustrate 'Spiritual Imagery.' Campbell replied promptly and without pause, "Without question, Black Elk's Vision!" (From the book, Black Elk Speaks.)

The Sioux believe that the story of Black Elk and his vision well demonstrates Nature-based imagery of the spiritual forces which govern our planet. Black Elk's vision constitutes the powerful core of our Sioux Natural Spirituality today a visionary teaching that brings to this present time the ancient values of Nature's Way.

In a time when the Sioux tribe enjoyed the freedom of the Great Plains , over a century ago, a powerful vision took place. This event occurred several years before the famous Custer battle when the Sioux defeated Colonel Custer. A young boy named Black Elk (in later years he was referred to as Nicholas Black Elk) had a vision that took him into the Rainbow Covered Lodge of the Six Powers of the World. West Power, North Power, East Power, and South Power are the Four Directions, and all spoke individually. Father Sky and Mother Earth then spoke to the youth. At the end of their speaking, a Blue Man of destruction and corruption appeared down below them. Native Traditionals believe that this Blue Man is now wreaking havoc upon the earth and, unless confronted by human, we will lose the planet. A more detailed presentation and discussion can be found in my book, Native Wisdom, (Council Oaks Books, Tulsa and San Francisco ).

For a long time Black Elk was afraid to reveal his vision to his people. His tribe had become captives, herded onto reservations. A federal insane asylum was even built at Canton , South Dakota , mainly for innocent resisting traditionals, many of whom were Sioux holy men. An honest white man came to him to catalyze his courage to tell his story. John Neihardt, a writer, entered Black Elk's life and his story was written to be conveyed to the world in the book, Black Elk Speaks . Neihardt was Black Elk's needed helper in order to have the message of the Vision become fulfilled. This particular vision is directly observable. The guiding forces that revealed themselves within, we have all observed and experienced whether or not we know a single page of what was revealed.



West Power (Black)

We acknowledge the life-giving rains from the West as the power to make life. Thunder and lightning are power to destroy, but we realize more life than death transpires with each rain. As the sun goes down in the west, darkness comes to the land. The color for the West is black. It is also the time when human must rest for there is less distraction.
North Power (White)

We think of endurance, cleanliness, truth, rest, politeness and strength as associated with the North. The cold north has Mother Earth rest beneath the white mantle of snow. She sleeps and gathers up her strength for the bounty of springtime. When the snows melt, the earth is made clean. When native people wintered over, often confined to a small area for a lengthy time while they waited for the spring thaw, they learned to be extremely polite, to be truthful and honest with each other. They kept clean by using the sweat lodge to take winter baths and to beseech to the spirit world. The power of the cold white north taught them to endure. The cleansing white wing within Black Elk's great vision emphasizes endurance and cleanliness.
East Power (Red)

The third power brought him the red pipe of peace. Peace begins with knowledge. To have peace, one must first become aware of knowledge, which comes forth out of the red dawn, the East, with each new day. The sun rises bringing with it new learning experiences for each new day. When you have knowledge and it is discussed and considered, it can become wisdom. Others share their thoughts, their observations and their needs.
South Power (Yellow)

Medicine from roots, stems, herbs and fruits are associated with the South Power. Today, many species are beginning to disappear and resultant medicines can soon be lost. The sun rises higher and higher as the South Power advances with summer. Eventually plants such as corn and wheat will bring forth yellow or golden kernels that will sustain much life through the long winter. Abundance is the primary gift from this power, for it makes all things grow and we are allowed to take that which grows. During the heat of summer, buffalo hunts provided meat to cure in the hot, blowing wind for long winters. During this time of plenty, gatherings of thanksgiving would happen. To be thankful for what you receive adds strength to your search for sustenance, provisions and shelter.
Sky Power (Blue)

Father Sky spoke and said the things of the air would be with Black Elk to help him in his struggle. Could these "things of the air" also be the open space of communication which now can transcend across the globe? Can it also be the satellites "things of the air," beaming back video and radio waves so we may see and talk directly across the skies? Human is allowed a great range of worldly communication. I perceive that what the Sky Power said could be closely associated with the advance of more peaceful people upon the earth because the things of the air are helping to promote peace and harmony. It is happening right before us.
Earth Power (Green)

Mother Earth, the Sixth Power, is the provider. She is our home. Not long ago it was unfathomable that mere human could actually alter or harm such a powerful Mother. Black Elk's vision was over a century ago yet Mother Earth focused only on the Blue Man, for obviously she visualized the serious threat way back then. She took Black Elk to the danger that was confronting the earth. This danger was the Blue Man of greed and deception that was already harming the living things. This Blue Man symbolizes the corruption, insensitivity, greed and ignorance that are upon the Earth. The Blue Man would wreak great destruction using lies and untruths and would have to be addressed, or else all creatures, including two-leggeds, would perish. Untruth is the Blue Man. Every day we observe much deception by those who lobby our political leaders in Washington with disregard for the environment and the ongoing dilemma, human killing human. As the situation worsens, more eyes will be opened and eventually the old ways of real Truth will have to be accepted in order to finally destroy the Blue Man. Hopefully, it will be in time for the planet to have a chance to regain the old harmony. Two-leggeds will discover that there is no other choice. Religious fundamentalists will no doubt keep on praying, ignoring and waiting for miracles, but the realistic and workable solution will be to turn away from the worship of extreme materialism that is not working. The ozone layer depletion, planetary heating, gone resources and the population spiral will not wait for miraculous curing. Water resources, great aquifers deplete as humans increase. Some tragic consequences are about to happen.

In 1804, human reached one billion in world population. 123 years later, two billion was reached. In 1960, three billion (33 years later). Thereafter, it took 14 years to reach another billion, then 13 years for another billion and in 1999, 6 billion was reached. We are swiftly on our way to 7 billion. The spiral is unsustainable.

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