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Classic vs Core Shamanism
Ethics of Spellcasting
Ethics of the Native Sacred Point of View
Following Others Discussion
Galactic Gateways
Harvesting the Fruits of Aging Discussion
Ley Lines & Vortexes
Mazes, Labyrinths & Spiral Discussion
Mother Earth
Praying Peace Discussion
Seeing through Soft Eyes
Soul Retrieval Discussion
Soul vs Spirit Discussion
Spirit Names & Their Medicine


A Question of Ethics
By CinnamonMoon

The "right" thing. One of the "right things" to do is follow the law of the land, or the tribe/society in which you live. An ethical person is going to demonstrate their perspectives through their character and personality, through the actions they take on issues they are confronted with. It's not always easy though. Social/Tribal Law defines what is acceptable behavior or action taken within that society based on the greater good of the whole. Spiritual Law defines what is acceptable behavior or action taken within the context of walking a spiritual path--again based on what is considered the greater good of the whole. And then we have Personal Law, the definitions we place on our own acceptable behavior or action taken within the context of our own choices and lives. Everything we do has a cause to initiate it, a reaction to that cause or action, and a price to pay or blessing to be received.

What determines the ethical approach you take to a given challenge? When you're faced with a decision as to whether or not you should act to change matters how do you know when to stand back or step forward? How do you determine that when you're not sure? I believe we all have an innate sense of right and wrong but it becomes clouded in the grey areas of life since things are not always black and white. It's at these times that we have to make choices that can range from minor to highly significant in the outcome and we need to see ourselves as responsible for the actions we take or don't take. Both directions may have drawbacks and repercussions we may not care for. When faced with such decisions moral obligation, tradition of family, social structure, religious foundations, and personal views all start to conflict and often create a state of mental chaos.

The best way I've found to resolve such challenging decisions is to take a few steps back and drop the emotional attachment to the issue at hand. This way I gain a clearer picture of what is going on and resolution is often obvious. When it isn't I begin a process of examining things from seven separate perspectives...the Seven Sacred Directions. I begin in the East, and look at things logically without attaching myself to the issue, I see into the problem and try to come up with options that can be examined for the best possible outcome. Then I move to the South where I put my trust in Spirit to guide the passions that create my desire to react in the first place. I move then to the West to examine my relationship to the issue and those involved and how the choice I make will affect them. Next I move to the North where I look at my own spiritual foundations, the teachings and experiences I've had over the years that would help me understand the cycle and pattern I'm working with. From there I look to the past, what have I learned from others who have faced similar challenges? What choices did they make? Were they (in my honest opinion) well founded or faulty? Why? I may look at someone I admire and ask myself what they would do or how they would react themselves. I might turn to someone older and wiser who could offer me advice or who at some point in my life set a good standard to follow. I look ahead next, examining the potential outcomes very carefully. What am I willing to experience as a result of my choice?

Will there be consequences that put me in vulnerable situations later? Will there be an outcome I could later regret? If so what would that mean to me on all levels: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual? What is the lesson in this? With these insights I can bring in my perspectives to draw a clearer conclusion. I know how I feel about the matter. I know my own sense of right or wrong, and I act on it. We can't always know the "karmic" lesson of others, their debt or lessons in life that need to be fulfilled. What do you do when there is doubt or uncertainty? Do you just wing it? Do you go with a gut feeling? What do you do when there isn't time to think it through from the overview and you have to make a split-second decision?

Cinnamon, Boy was this an eye opener for me. You asked:

“What determines the ethical approach you take to a given challenge? When you're faced with a decision as to whether or not you should act to change matters how do you know when to stand back or step forward? How do you determine that when you're not sure?”

And I wrote my answer as follows before completely reading your full post. The follow was the way I answered. When conflict exists between what society expects and what I personally can accept for myself, I do what I feel is right while respecting someone else’s choice to make a different choice. As an example if I was chosen for a jury where the punishment was death I would not serve as a juror since I could not sentence someone to death. I have no problem with life imprisonment but would not sentence someone to death. To me there are higher laws than man made ones and “my interpretation” of them is that killing in unacceptable. I do however accept others or societal rights to their own interpretation. If the problem is when to interfere especially when you are not directly involved, I make an assessment. If the error will effect primarily the surface of something and no one can be hurt or nothing is underlying wrong and I am not directly involved, I will remain silent. If the error can hurt someone or it can have a major impact on the reliability of the outcomes I would address it. I would point out my concerns to the parties involved. If I was involved with the process and just told to sign off anyway on a situation or to ignore a situation I didn’t feel comfortable with, I simply would say No. Managers/ superiors have the right to override subordinates decisions but they do not have the right to force a subordinate to perform anything they consider unethical. I typically hold fast in my opinion and respect others rights to make a different choice. If push comes to shove it usually simply comes down to asking your manager quietly which letter of the word NO didn’t they understand?

I have however assessed carefully whether this is something I cannot do based on ethical grounds as opposed to something I simply rather not do. In some cases I have been told you’ll either do as I say or you’ll be fired and I just simply say that maybe true but I still can’t do what you ask and you’ll need to do what you have to do. But that I have to live with myself and my choice and you’ll need to live with yours as well. Quite frankly, I have never been fired yet. Choices can create mental chaos and when neither direction is right or wrong and there is no one better choice then I choose what I feel is intuitively correct and live with the consequences knowing that I did the best I could. However, first I have looked at all the data there is available, second I worked through all of my feelings to ensure that I am not biasing any decision, thirdly I extract myself from the situation to ensure that the decision is based not on personal preference and that personal feelings aren’t causing me to choose one way and then I look to what I feel is morally correct and look at several spiritual traditions at times to ensure that there is not man made bias there either. I also look over what the statistics show from previous situations and what the probable outcome of the future are. Then I make a decision. Usually the decision is clear but when it is not and there truly is no right or wrong choice and it is a life and death decision, I trust what I intuitively feel is the correct path. I then read your complete response putting decision in the context of the medicine wheel. It certainly put what to me is a natural process into the context of the medicine wheel and showed how it is really used. I "finally understand" the medicine wheel. I fully understand the process I use to arrive at decisions and the medicine wheel is the same thing with structure. Thank you so much for this post. I am excited!!!

I am so excited about the medicine wheel It finally make sense in terms of its use. It is a completely natural process and one I automatically do when making decision but putting into the context of the medicine wheel gives the process structure. It must be so wonderful to be taught this as a child. While most of you won't like this comparison to me it is important. I personally hated English grammar in elementary school. To me all one did is memorize rules and none of it meant much to me other than regurgitation of fact. In ninth grade I had an ancient nun (she was probably 50) teach us grammar and all we did for one semester was diagram sentences. I love it; it gave structure to rules and I could visually see the rules and the interactions between the parts of the sentences. To me it I finally understood the rules and the interaction between them. The same insight just happened with the wheel. It gave natural processes which I have been using for years using different semantics structure and I finally understand. I am sure that there is much more depth to the wheel than just in this one area but I can easily see its expansion. I got up this morning and read Sun Bears descriptions of the other stones. I understand the anchor stones, the moons stones, the Spirit path stones and the first three foundation stones but am not sure of the other four clan stones (Turtle/Earth, Frog/Water, Thunderbird/Fire, and Butterfly/Air). Some questions came to me when thinking about the various stones as follows: Are these the stones that one dances with when you dance the wheel from each quadrant or are they the elements themselves as foundation to life? How do the foundation stones interact with the dance? How does one differentiate between the element as represented by the quadrant and the element represented by the foundation stone? When would you use the foundation stone over the quadrant stone? Do the spirit path and foundations stones move up and down the shamanic trees as do the quadrant and moon stones or are they more representative of specific realms? If anyone has any thoughts I would appreciate them or if there are any specific books on these I would appreciate the references. Thanks!

Earthwalker, I'm excited!!! While this is only a practical use of the Wheel in mundane life it's a valid one that serves us well. I like how the Wheel manifested for you though and there you have one of my little "jiggles". You also have a raw description of how the process of a path unfolds. You have been given some very, very basic foundations to the Wheel, seeing it in use brought them into perspective. The next time you Dance that perspective will penetrate into the symbology that you have already embraced and enhance it. The time after that you'll take in the previous experiences with you. Suddenly it is clear that the Wheel has become the Lotus blossom and is unfolding for you. It's awesome to say the least and it just keeps going.


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INDEX Page 1
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INDEX Page 2
INDEX Page 3
(Main Section, Medicine Wheel, Native Languages & Nations, Symbology)
INDEX Page 4
(Myth & Lore)
INDEX Page 5
(Sacred Feminine & Masculine, Stones & Minerals)
INDEX Page 6
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INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
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