"We are called to become hollow bones for our people, and anyone else we can help. We are not supposed to seek power for our personal use and honor. What we bones really become is the pipeline that connects Wakan Tanka, the helpers and the community together. This tells us the direction our curing and healing work must follow, and establishes the kind of life we must live. We have to be strong and committed, otherwise we will get very little spiritual power and will probably give up the curing and healing work. The lessons we are taught by our human teachers, as Stirrup was for me, stressed that the traditional way of performing a ritual is more important than curing someone. Curing a single individual is only important in terms of what this teaches the entire community. This community must continue to know that Wakan Tanka, and the Helpers are always with it, and that it need no be afraid."
This may be a bit of a ramble but brain is stirring and so I must share before I get back into writing stories. I've always been interested in pagan/aboriginal beliefs, went through my "witchy phase" in my twenties although it's never really left. I just have a bad habit of being a skeptical believer and I have the annoying talent of seeing things from every side and being able to both deny the reality of things that happened while simultaneously acknowledging that there is "something" out there. I have a belief that when/if string theory is ever proven it will resolve that issue. We know that all matter resonates at unique frequencies and speeds, perhaps God is merely the overarching vibration of the universe. Not sure, but that's why I write books like Testament of An Archangel which questions everything.
At any rate, I wrote a Supernatural fanfiction that introduces a original character, Running Coyote who is a late 20s female Shaman in training, ex hunter who helps Dean and Sam through a tough time. She's a Lakota Sioux. I became aware of the problems the Lakota tribe faces years ago via Dailykos when they held charity drives to help them get enough heating oil through the winters. Whenever I write about something that is real whether it be a yacht I am planning to have a fight scene on or a culture I do research. I liked Running Coyote so much as a character that I decided to give her her own story. I knew that I would need to research Shamanism and Lakota Sioux to right it correctly. I refuse to add additional disrespect to a people that have been so suppressed and mistreated as the Native Americans have. I picked up a few books, one is Frank Fools Crow's biography and I also got two books on basic Shamanism. I'm pretty aware of what Shamanism is from my earlier studies but wanted a refresher.
I started to read Frank Fools Crow's book first. He was a deeply respected Lakota Sioux leader, a nephew of Black Elk and his life spanned from the very beginning of the Reservation period to 1989. He was born between 1890-1892 an exact date is not known because they weren't keeping written records back then, either way he was almost 100 when he passed away. As I read his book, which I am about half way through, what struck me was that he never seems to say a harsh word about white people even though he has plenty of reason too. He acknowledges that the government lied to the Natives, cheated them out of their treasures, suppressed their religion, viewed them as ignorant savages etc etc but the tone is more explanatory then enraged. He reserves his disgust more for alcohol and money, the two things that he sees are truly what caused the destruction of the Native people because they abandoned their traditional ways to drink and try to make money. Admittedly the presence of money was more or less forced upon the Natives by the American government but he states that he watched his people steal livestock to sell it for money. The many programs the government foisted upon the Natives damaged their souls, he admits that, but yet Fools Crow comes across as a man who does not hate.
He states that when the Sioux lost sight of their values of generosity, kinship, fortitude and wisdom was when things for his people truly went downhill and that when he prayed for guidance on how to help his people he was told repeatedly that the road to saving his people was to get them back on the traditional path which he tried to do. He and other elders seem to have tried repeatedly to work with the government and give them the benefit of the doubt, many Natives converted to Christianity once they saw that the core of their belief system was not much different than what Jesus preached. Fools Crow draws many comparisons between the two, the flesh offerings of the Sun Dance are similar to Jesus's sacrifice, the values that Jesus professed were the same that Wankan Tanka had taught them and that both systems have a Trinity inherent in them as well. Of course white people never bothered to figure that out and just condemned their ceremonies as savage and then banned them, at least until white people wanted to view them as tourist attractions. For years the Indians weren't allowed to have their ceremonies and then the white agents convinced them to hold fairs, pow wows and their most sacred ceremonies for the entertainment of whites. Fools Crow states how it astonished him that all the things his people used to do when they lived the traditional way with no need for money had now become a side show for the very people that had caused them to no longer be able to live in a traditional fashion. Once the government switched over to giving them money and not rations people abandoned their farms and livestock, moved to towns and became apathetic. Slowly the amount of land they had shrunk, either because the government took more or impoverished Natives leased it to whites that lived on the outskirts of the Reservations. Taking all that into account the emotion that he seems to convey most in his words is sadness, regret and the wish that the Government and whites had bothered to learn what was truly behind the Native Ceremonies, who they were and that they had been given respect.
It's truly disturbing to me that this inability to respect people that are different is still so lacking in humans. Is it really that hard? I see it in stories about police over reacting to situations, in internet comments where people are bigoted and ignorant, in the constant divisive tactics used by media or people in power. Belittle, demonize and purposely don't learn about another to justify your violent behavior towards them. It can be about race, religion, gender or anything that separates. Hate is so sterile. People confuse respect and hate. Hate breeds violence and distrust. Respect is earned and given and breeds cooperation not condemnation.
What does this have to do with reawakenings? Reading how Fools Crow describes Lakota beliefs along with the other books are reconfirming what I have known for a long time and bringing me back to a point where I am becoming more open to the "other" side of things. As a massage therapist much of the reason why what we do works is still a mystery, the mind-body connection is barely understood. My actions of releasing muscle tension makes a person recovering from hip replacement surgery feel completely pain free, working her shoulder that she and doctors were convinced would probably need surgery I have given her massively decreased pain and much increased Range of Motion. Then there is the emotional component from massage and energy work, the healing that can happen on multiple levels that I will probably get into at some point or other. Westerners used to call it "woo woo" and a sham or some form of fake healing, yet the Chinese and Japanese have been doing it for 1000s of years. Once again, people make assumptions, condemn and demonize something for no reason other than it is "foreign" and from "savage, ignorant people." It's the European/American mindset of exceptional-ism. I am not saying whites are the only ones who do this, throughout history anything that was deemed "other" was usually decreed as evil.
Between doing Gishwhes this year, researching Shamanism, just taking time out to think and trying to make a conscious effort to fight the overall negativity humanity tends to give me I am getting back to who I was years ago. I think this is important for several reasons, one I was happier and two I was helping people. Helping people has always been a core part of me, it took a lot of hits over the years and I got to where I just couldn't do it anymore. Reading Fools Crow book I am realizing that giving up is not really an option. I have gifts, I may as well use them and learn to let go when people take advantage of it or not grateful. I did my part, what they choose to do with it is up to them.
Sorry for the ramble.