Main Information

Page 15

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The 37 pages in this Main Information section are below.

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

Mother Earth
By Cinnamon Moon

We are born of the Great Ones, Spirit and Mother Earth, precious children one and all…We Are All Related. Mother Earth or Gaea/Gaia as some commonly call her (she has a thousand names) is the essence of the feminine spirit and she is stirring these days to reclaim her rightful place in our lives. Neglected for a long time, she's calling to her children and we are responding. So I thought it important to bring some attention to her and the ways we perceive her presence.

So the earth is our Mother…what does that mean, what is her energy like, how do we connect with her, why do we connect with her, what is she like, why does she set elemental forces into destructive mode and claim sacrifices of those who walk or swim or fly within her being? Mother Earth gives birth to manifest form, and with that comes labor pains, she is alive and this planet is not going to cease its existence simply because we inhabit it. We must learn about her spirit and her nature so that we can co-exist in the best possible ways and so that we can honor the source of our nurturing sustenance.

Mother Earth provides for her children, her energy is both primal and sacred. Honoring her is done through ceremony and there are different aspects to it. Indigenous teachings bring together the elements necessary to give back using our voices in song, our connection to the heartbeat of the universe when we drum, entering the Silence between the beats, between the breaths, between the words. When we dance we summon her energy up through our footfalls, and down from the universe as our voices rise up and summon this attention to us. In this way we unite the Mother and Father through our efforts taking that energy into our bodies and then projecting it out into the world for others to share.

Prayer in our hearts opens the door, the portal of connection through the heartbeat of the universe and the heartbeat of our bodies. We partake and invite All Our Relations in all their diversity and co-existence and in this way we are blessed and we bless each other through that interconnectedness.

It brings great pleasure to the Earth Mother to see her children celebrate life, honoring her and loving one another in these ways. Through ceremony (large or small or independently carried out) we come to a combined state of union that brings forth the honoring.

The energy of Mother Earth teaches us about the nurturing feminine essence found within each of us as well as in life. It teaches the balance of receptivity needed to come into harmony with the aggressive masculine forces that bring action to life. She is the womb from which all life manifests, and to which we return to be reborn.

In the Medicine teachings I've received I've found many similarities to what the authors comments I'll share shortly have to reveal. In my own experiences she has come to me at times related to shamanic death. I have been taken into the womb of Mother Earth and held there to be reborn as well as during times of retrievals (another form of rebirth). I've heard her voice speaking to me and comforting my fears and worries. She has taught me much, shown me many things about the role of woman, my role as a woman, as a mother, as a grandmother, as an elder, and one who serves one of the path to serve Spirit. She has shown me that I am indeed one of her Daughters, and taught me the way of All My Relations…what it really means, not just what it sounds like.

The Earth Mother has sent her spirit daughters to me, the Ancient Elders that taught me ritual, ceremony, song, and various aspects of my path. These spirit women took me into Circle and taught me many things that would let me serve those who are Dropping their Robes. I understood the ceremonies and rituals, but not the taboos I was shown. They tested me, they tried my spirit, they placed me in situations where ethical choices and intent were in question and watched to see how I responded.

They sent me from their teachings with many answers and many questions to seek answers for. In this I journeyed for two years before I was finished gathering the knowledge I needed just to complete the teachings with those who are Dropping their Robes. Some aspects of their teachings took me decades to understand and complete, but that is part of the journey too. I had to experience things to know them at times, and at other times I needed only to witness to understand, and sometimes it was a matter of re-membering…of recalling my Old Medicine, the Medicine of my Inner Spirit that I brought with me this lifetime…things I already knew.

In these journeys I've taken to re-member I found that the Old Medicines were things very familiar to me, aspects of my nature and the abilities I was manifesting that needed to be re-membered stood out along the way and as I recognized them they began to unfold and expand and I understood the power/essence they contained…and why I carried them. It was the women's ways that brought this understanding to me as gently as possible, and when it hit hard at times it needed to….I had to be shocked to that awareness, it had to awaken in me, so they would shake me sometimes. A lot like the voices of the ThunderBeings shake the earth, or rattle our windows, and we feel them pass through us to warn of the storm that's coming…strong, angry, nurturing, healing, loving, there are many tones to the voice of the Earth Mother, as with any mother's voice. She's able to coo to us, whisper and laugh or shout if need be.

She is Nature in all its glory and splendor, and in all its fury and rage, and she will destroy what she must to remake it and give it new life and when we honor her we understand this. She gives us life and she takes us when that time is spent, back into her womb to be reborn again.

Mother Earth's daughters gifted me with many things to assist those who are Dropping their Robes. I have received spirit tools to work with, and have gathered the physical parts to make my own. I have learned much of the rituals and ceremonies involved in this manner and it is a growing part of my pathwork today. This is also a direction I would never have taken otherwise. Never. It was the last thing I would consider I would be doing but today Spirit crosses my path with those who need my help along these lines all the same, and I take them to the Earth Mother who receives them.

At first I tried to deny the path I was walking room for this aspect, I tried to refuse people feeling I had more to learn. Mother said no to that though. She insisted and sent them back to me, made me use my knowledge this way, pushed me into things, told me 'you can do it' and I did and my confidence grew and today I am comfortable sharing whatever I can with people. I see the Medicine weave itself each time, unique to each situation, but the weaving and patterns are the same. So I walk this portion of my path with conviction and am honored to serve wherever it is called for. And as the years unfold the path grows wider and I'm shown the coming capacity I need to pace myself for, prepare for, and give service to.

I have had Mother Earth come to me in times of crisis, when in prayer and weeping for those prayers to be answered. She's brought forth her voice then too, filling the air in the room, permeating it and me. Her voice…so gentle, so comforting, so loving, it's essence and energy healing in and of itself. She's tended me during severe illness and shown me that I would survive the pneumonia that threatened to take my life…assured me that I had purpose and was needed still. She's lent me her strength, taught me her ways, and shown me her beauty countless times.

Do I fear her? No. She is Mother and Grandmother in one. I do not fear her, I am one of her daughters. Do I fear her time of awakening now, the devastation brought about by Nature's acts as she shifts and stirs, no…though it does make my heart and spirit sad to see the suffering that comes of these things I have been shown a larger picture and understand they must happen to bring forth the balance, and I know that those taken and lost to those who remain are taken into the most gentle arms they could be cradled in. I've been held in those same arms myself. I know they are loved, their pain no more, and they live in a new place where they are needed.

Do I fear the cycle of life, death, and rebirth? No. I never did hold that fear, not for myself, or those who moved beyond our mundane world, the fears I knew around death were for those left behind, their pain, their needs, their loss. And she showed me that was a foolish fear as well, their paths would be what they would be regardless of my fears, they had their own journeys and experiences and I did not need to worry for them. I needed only to care about them…that was so easy to do once I understood more of this cycle. What I would say I would fear would be the course of events that followed her wrath. She has a temper too, and I know I would do nothing to intentionally evoke that from her. I know that I have no desire to bring that upon myself and those I love. I know that it is there, that it can arise, and I take care to walk honorably so that doesn't happen where I'm concerned. Got to be a good daughter. *Smiles*

She has shown me paths walked in past lives, interconnections to my spirit group and those individuals in my life today. She's shown me how some have shared many lifetimes with me and that there will be union again and again and again. We walk between the worlds in the cycle of rebirth, going from the physical experience of life, to the spiritual experience in death, and the rebirthing of these experiences is the journey the Inner Spirit is taking, we (as human beings) are host, witness, and the sensory aspect that allows the spirit to experience and communicate with us so that it's journey can be made more efficiently…if we open to connect.

So many lessons have been brought to me through the Earth Mother, through Gaia, and through Grandmother Moon. The feminine is Above us as it is Below us, the masculine as well. It is within the keeping of the Earth Mother that we are nurtured, experience our lessons, attain our blessings, and share them, to bring forth as women the manifest form. All things are born of woman, she is the vessel that contains and pours out her blessings to the world. What is to fear?

*What follows is from my resource notes*

*SunBear, in his book ‘Dancing With The Wheel’ presented a song to honor Mother Earth and the direction of the North. It wasn’t his creation, there are variations of it and different sources that are given credit but this is his version of it, what he calls the “healed version”. (It is traditional in many tribal cultures to repeat the verses twice.) I thought I’d share it here in case anyone is interested in putting the song to use.

The Earth is our Mother
We’re taking care of her
The Earth is our Mother
We’re taking care of her
Hey younga, ho younga, hey young young
Hey younga, ho younga, hey young young

Her sacred ground we walk upon
With every step we take
Her sacred ground we walk upon
With every step we take
Hey younga, ho younga, hey young young
Hey younga, ho younga, hey young young

The totems of the Earth Mother are clay, corn, beans and squash; her color is forest green, and her element is that of the Earth. It is to Her we turn when we need comfort to heal anguish or deep sadness and it is Her voice that brings that comfort forth when we open to her. You can hear her speak, she has spoken to me on many occasions, and her voice is pure love. She teaches the nurturing role of the parent be we just beginning to step into that position or if we are there and seasoned, anytime we are troubled or need guidance she will show the way.

Clay as a mineral totem of the Earth Mother has been used for centuries to fashion objects and healing vessels such as bricks, pottery, bowls for pipes, fetishes and iconic figures. Among the pieces of pottery there are often specific jars used for initiation, fire, weather or hunting. Clay comes from the earth and it connects us to the Earth Mother, and that which is by it’s nature, Red Clay, is considered very sacred for it contains her blood, infusing it with special powers that heal or bring insight to understand the mysteries of life. This sacred clay is used to draw out infections, disease, or toxic aspects of illness from the body in the form of poultices and even as ceremonial face paint or masks. It addresses the body of the Earth Mother, her form and her blood, her flesh and bone that is both cleansing and malleable.

Corn, beans, and squash are the staple foods of many Native tribes and will often be known as the Three Sisters…they grow together in gardens and help one another thrive, they are used in ceremony as offerings to the Earth Mother or in Medicine Bags as containers. Whole kernels of corn or cornmeal are used to form boundaries in ceremony either as the line defining the Medicine Circle or Wheel, or as boundaries around homes for protection, or before doorways warning others not to enter for ceremony is taking place. When used as a door marking it is swept clear afterward so people know it is again permitted to knock and enter.

Turtle is another symbol of the Earth Mother and its lore can be found in our Totem Library if you wish to study that. Encompassing the lessons of grace, patience, experience and endurance found in the Earth Mother herself. It is through this totem that the lessons of unity by which we live are taught so we can avoid the harsher lessons of jealousy, greed, and hatred. Working with this totem we come to the lessons of the ancient wisdoms, sacrifice that is willingly made, the joy of serving others, and being true to one’s self/nature. Patience, endurance, stability, dependability that leads to the value of experience are among this creature’s many lessons as well. The forest green color attributed to Mother Earth represents the lush vibrancy of all green-growing things so full of life, energy, warmth, growth and healing that they bring to us. The nurturing, bonding, and stability of manifesting abundance and the bounty of the harvest.

*Barbara Walker, in her book: ‘The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets’ did an excellent expose’ on Mother Earth. I’d like to share that in this article. In her words:
Herodotus said, “Three different names have been given to the earth, which is but one, and those derived from the names of women.” Herodotus miscounted. Thousands of feminine names have been given to the earth. Continents – Asia, Africa, Europe – were named after manifestations of the Goddess. Countries bore the names of female ancestors or of other manifestations of the Goddess: Libya, Lydia, Russia, Anatolia, Latium, Holland, China, Ionia, Akkad, Chaldea, Scotland (Scotia), Ireland (Eriu, Hera) were but a few. Every nation gave its own territory the name of its own Mother Earth.

Mother Earth received universal worship because she was the universal parent. American Indians still relate how all peoples and animals in the beginning emerged from Earth’s yonic hole, and “it was just like a child being born from its mother. The place of emergence is the womb of the earth.” Siberian reindeer hunters say the human race emerged from a Goddess, whose carved figurines protect the hunter’s hut, when given offerings and prayers: “Help us to keep healthy! Help us to kill much game!”

The central doctrine of Amerindian religion was reincarnation in a new body from Earth Mother’s womb, the ancient meaning of “born again.”

A chief named Smohalla spoke of his moral obligations formed by this doctrine: “It is a sin to wound or cut, to tear or scratch our common mother by working at agriculture. You ask me to dig in the earth? Am I to take a knife and plunge it into the breast of my mother? But then, when I die, she will not gather me again to her bosom. You tell me to dig up and take away the stones. Must I mutilate her flesh so as to get at her bones? Then I can never again enter into her body and be born again.” Oriental Indians had much the same idea about entering the earth. Hindu priests told a dead man: “Go, seek the earth, that wise and kind mother of all. O Earth, rise up and do not hurt his bones; be kind and gentle to him. O Earth, cover him as a mother covers her infant with the skirts of her garment.”

Ancient Roman philosophers had the same idea too. “The Earth Mother is the mysterious power that awakes everything to life….All comes from the earth and all ends in the earth…the earth produces all things and then enfolds them again…the Goddess is the beginning and end of all life.” A Roman writer of the 3rd century A.D. prayed to “Holy Goddess Earth, Nature’s mother, who bringeth all to life, and revives all from day to day. The food of life Thou grantest in eternal fidelity. And when the soul hath retired we take refuge in Thee. All that Thou grantest falls back somewhere into Thy womb.:

Patriarchal Christians might have been expected to speak of Father Heaven rather than Mother Earth, yet they found it impossible to give up the older deity. The epitaph of Pope Gregory the Great said: “Suscipe Terra Tuo de corpore sumptum: “Receive O Earth, what was taken from thy body.” Even up to the 20th century, tombstones of German Christians bore the formula: Heir ruht im Mutterschoss der Erde…., “Here rests in Earth’s maternal womb…” In Chaucer’s Pardoner’s Tale an old man pleaded with the Goddess: “…I walk alone and wait About the earth, which is my mother’s gate, Knock-knocking with my staff from night to noon And crying, “Mother, open to me soon! Look at me, Mother, won’t you let me in? See how I wither, flesh and bones and skin! Alas! When will these bones be laid to rest?”

This was more than a poetic metaphor. As late as the 12th century, many Europeans still recognized Mother Earth as a Goddess, perhaps their only supreme divinity. She was described in an English herbal of the period with no mention of God at all: “Earth, divine goddess, Mother Nature, who doest generate all things and bringest forth ever anew the sun which thou hast given to the nations; Guardian of sky and sea and of all Gods and powers; through thy influence all nature is hushed and sinks to sleep…Again, when it pleases thee, thou sendest forth the glad daylight and nurturest life with thine eternal surety; and when the spirit of man passes, to thee it returns. Thou are indeed rightly named Great Mother of the Gods; Victory is thy divine name. Thou art the source of the strength of peoples and gods; without thee nothing can either be born or made perfect; thou are mighty, Queen of the Gods. Goddess, I adore thee as divine, I invoke thy name; vouchsafe to grant that which I ask of thee, so shall I return thanks to thy godhead.”

Up to the Renaissance, English farmers continued to call upon Erce, eorthan modor (Earth, mother of earth) when planting. Similarly, up to the 20th century, Russian farmers continued to call upon Mati-Syra-Zemlya (Moist Mother Earth) for almost everything. Instead of touching a Bible when taking an oath, a Russian peasant would put a clod of earth on his forehead, invoking the Mother’s curse if he broke his word. This perpetuated an ancient Greek habit. Even the patriarchal Olympian gods swore their binding oaths by Mother Earth: Gaea, or Rhea, called Universal Mother, Deep-Breasted One, firmly founded, oldest of divinities. Hesiod admitted that she ruled Olympus before the coming of the Hellenic deities. She ruled Russia too. The country bore her ancient name, Rha (Rhea), the Red One, mother of the Volga and all its tribes.

Home and Mother were literally identical to people who combined both in their image of the earth-goddess. Many believed they must be buried in the same soil that supported them in childhood. Threatened by invaders, the matriarchal Cimmerians could have saved themselves by moving away from their homeland; but they chose to face superior numbers of enemies, and die where they were, believing their lives valueless if they couldn’t re-unite with the same Earth that gave them birth. The Egyptian traveler Sinuhe felt the approach of death and hurried home to his motherland “to follow the Lady of All,” hoping that she would “spend eternity by my side.”

Post-mortem reunion with the Mother always overlapped with the idea of marrying her. Man seldom distinguished clearly between his three roles as the Goddess’s child, corpse, and bridegroom. Balkan peasants still view death as a sacred marriage, and dress corpses as for a wedding. Formal dirges say: “The black earth for my wife I took.” Ancient Greek epitaphs similarly proclaimed the dead man “admitted to the bridal chamber of Persephone.” Artemidorus wrote: “All the accompaniments of marriage are exactly the same as those of death.”

The archetypal image of the marriage-with-Earth had a curious revival in the special mid-Victorian pornography known as porntopia, in which the female body was a landscape, and man correspondingly reduced in fantasy about the size of a fly: “In the middle distance there looms a large irregular shape. On the horizon swell two immense snowy white hillocks; these are capped by great, pink, and as it were prehensile peaks or tips—as if the rosy-fingered dawn itself were playing just behind them. The landscape undulates gently down to a broad, smooth, swelling plain, its soft rolling curves broken only in the lower center by a small volcanic crater or omphalos. Farther down, the scene narrows and changes in perspective. Off to the right and left jut two snowy ridges. Between them, at their point of juncture, is a dark wood…sometimes it is called a thicket…triangular in shape. It is also like a cedarn cover, and in its midst is a dark romantic chasm. In this chasm the wonders of nature abound. From its top there depends a large, pink stalactite, which changes shape, size and color in accord with the movement of tides below and within. Within the chasm—which is roughly pear-shaped—there are caverns measureless to man, grottoes, hermits’ caves, underground streams—a whole internal and subterranean landscape. The climate is warm but wet. Thunderstorms are frequent in this region, as are tremors and quakings of the earth. The walls of the cavern often heave and contract in rhythmic violence, and when they do the salty streams that run through it double their flow. The whole place is dark yet visible. This is the center of the earth and the home of man.”

Marcus attributes these images of pronotopia to a spiritual loss, possibly related in a direct way to contemporary denial of the earth-mother figure in a religious symbolism, as well as Victorian society’s suppression of sexuality: “One gets the distinct impression, after reading a good deal of this literature, that it could only have been written by men who at some point in their lives had been starved…Inside of every pornographer there is an infant screaming for the breast from which he has been torn. Pornography represents an endless and infinitely repeated effort to recapture that breast, and the bliss it offered.”

Acquisitiveness seems to have been another manifestation of the hidden psychic hunger for possession of Mother Earth. Her European names Urth, Hertha, Eortha, Erda, Hretha, etc. stemmed from Sanskrit Artha, “mater-ial wealth.” Among the Hindu-rooted gypsies, “earth” meant good luck, fortune, money. Latin Mater (Mother) became English “matter,” of which Plutarch said, “Matter hath the function of mother and nurse…and containeth the elements from which everything is produced.” Tibetans still say the elements are produced by the Old Mother. The material body has the special name of Nanna-Maya, variations of which appeared everywhere in the ancient Mediterranean world as names of the Great Goddess. The “soul manifested in matter” is defined as the Anna-Maya self. The sages say, “mind and matter are at base one as modes of the same Power…Mind is the subjective and Matter the objective aspect of the one polarized Consciousness.”

Western theology split this former unity into duality, regarding matter (or flesh) and mind (or spirit) as intrinsically different from, and opposed to, one another. Thus, says Jung, “the word ‘matter’ remains a dry, inhuman, and purely intellectual concept, without any psychic significance for us. How different was the former image of matter—the Great Mother—that could encompass and express the profound emotional meaning of Mother Earth.

After the image of Mother Earth as birth-giver, perhaps that of Mother Earth as receiver of the dead aroused the most profound emotional responses. When death was viewed as a return to the infantile state of sleep in the Mother’s bosom, it seemed less terrifying. The Rig Veda says, “Crawl into your Mother Earth. She will save you from the void.” In medieval ballads, the hero’s lady-love sometimes impersonated Mother Earth by covering her lover with her green mantle, to put him “out of sight” as if buried. Greek peasants thought the worst kind of curse on an enemy was to wish Mother Earth would not accept him: “May the earth not digest thee! May the black earth spew thee up! May the ground not consume thee!” Such a one rejected by the earth would be a reverent or a restless ghost.

In France during the 12th century, a sect of heretics were sent to the stake by the Archbishop of Reims, apparently for worshipping Mother Earth, among other offenses. Led to execution, one of them “cried again and again, ‘O Earth, cleave asunder!’” His hearers thought he was trying to get the earth to swallow his enemies, but he may have believed the earth could open and swallow him to save him from the stake. Like the original death aspect of Rhea or Cerridwen, Mother Earth was still supposed to devour her children.

*Sioux terms:
Ina: mother
Inipi: a sweat bath
Is’nati (ishnati): to menstruate, dwelling apart
Isna Ti Ca Lowan: First Menses, or Ceremony of Isolation wherein the “new woman” is instructed as to her responsibilities to her family and creation. The help of the White Buffalo Calf Maiden is called upon, including her legacy of wisdom, to ensure that this girl will be able to live up to these standards. This ceremony is so strongly related to Whope’ (the falling star) that it is also known as the White Buffalo Ceremony. In the old days the material used to absorb menstrual blood was wrapped up and placed in the branches of a plum tree to keep it from the schemes of Iktomi, the trickster.
Maka: the earth

*Walking In The Sacred Manner by Mark St. Pierre and Tilda Long Soldier: The most powerful story in Lakota life is that of White Buffalo Calf Woman. The Sacred Maiden brought, or altered, all the rituals that took the Lakota on the passages through life. All religions must do that—create meaningful passage through ritual, from one stage of life to another. For Lakota women, these stages correspond to those of Mother Earth herself: the rock age, the bow age, the fire age, and the pipe age. These four stages for humans are childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Reincarnation is one possibility for the Lakota after death, so it might be said that this cycle could “end” in rebirth, or that it never ends.

It is her sacred character that Lakota women are to emulate if they are to live a good and respected life. Whereas all agree that she exists, not all Lakota agree on who this person was.

Some say she is a reincarnation of Whope’ (the falling star), the beautiful one. In an earlier epic legend central to concepts of Lakota life, she was sent by Mahpiyata, the Sky, to live with Tate’, the Wind, and his five sons. When asked by Tate’ who she was she said, “The Sun is my father, the Moon is my mother, and the stars are my people.” Eventually she came to marry Itokaga, the South Wind. In the lengthy stories about her stay with Tate’, she in turn tests each of the males in the household as they try to win her hand in marriage. Yummi, the childlike Whirlwind, loves Whope’ as a child loves a mother.

The Role of Women:
In Lakota society, the spiritual and economic powers of women were not only acknowledged but well respected. When a man took a wife, he lived in her camp. When the Lakota traced their ancestry, while acknowledging and respecting their father’s relatives, most took the band name of their mothers. These patterns still exist.

Because Lakota society is more balanced with regard to the male and female forces than other societies, it is little wonder that there are two commonly told legends about the end of the world—one female-based, the other male. Here is a female version told to me by the late Lucy Swan, a respected Lakota elder, in the mid-1970’s.

“There is a very old woman who sits on the edge of a tall bluff. She is quilling a beautiful design on a buffalo robe. The woman is very old, so she tires easily. Beside her sits an ancient dog. He is so old that he has very few teeth. Even though he is old, he is still playful. Every day the woman quills that buffalo robe. Soon she is tired and falls asleep. When she rests at night, the dog unravels all that she did the day before. If that dog forgets to unravel those quills, or gets too old, the old woman will finish the robe. That will be the end of the world.”

The earth and rocks are part of the living Mother Earth (her ‘skeleton’) and thus are the oldest part of creation .These things are used in helping the living, because they have power. This quality can be added or enhanced, as when a holy man or woman makes a wasicun (medicine, a talisman) that will protect or benefit the “patient.” Along with her sacred songs and spirit helpers, these medicine objects are the literal tools of the holy woman’s trade.

The bear is a very special animal, thought to resemble humans in many ways, including its ability to walk on two legs. It roots out herbs and thus has a knowledge, like badger and skunk, of those plants that live both above and below the earth. The bear is the one animal who chooses to share his sacred wisdom directly with humanity, forming a unique alliance. Because the bear is ruler of the underworld creatures, it is closely aligned with the powers of Mother Earth and is also considered chief of all the animals when it comes to knowledge of herbal medicine. The female bear is said to represent Lakota attitudes toward bravery, especially in defending one’s family. Men and women who dreamed of the bear (bear dreamers) were often the ones who became physicians and pharmacists. A number of women we have met have been Mato Ihan’bla, or bear dreamers.

The spider, although not a true four legged, has a sacred number of legs – eight – and is associated with things that crawl. It was the spider that led the first humans to the surface world, and it is the inspiration for human technology. Since the trap-door spider on the prairie was seen to borrow and seek the shelter of the rocks and earth, it is also closely associated with the powers of Mother Earth and is a particularly useful ally in doctoring the sick, and in various incarnations is a common helper of healers.

The turtle is probably the most prominent of the water animals. The Lakota believe that the earth was built on the back of a turtle. Therefore the turtle is synonymous with Mother Earth, the female procreative power. Beaded or quilled Cekpapi (charms) fashioned in the shape of a turtle are made for newborn girls. Lizard-shaped effigies are made for baby boys. In this umbilical bundle is placed the dried umbilical plug from the newborn child. The turtle symbolizes the care of Mother Earth and evokes the protection of the turtle’s famous shell, just as the lizard symbolizes a sturdy constitution and good health: “The symbolic basis for the representation of the turtle…is found in the belief that the turtle has power over the functional diseases peculiar to women, and also over conception, birth, and the period of infancy. The eating of the living heart of the turtle is regarded as a positive cure for menstrual disorders and barrenness.”

The following passage, from Belle Starboy, speaks about a ‘turtle woman’:

“I am from Oak Creek Community [Rosebud Reservation]. I remember when I was a little girl, maybe about nine, a woman came to my house. She asked me about how I was doing in school—just sort of visited. She took out a turtle to show me. It was green or dark on top, but I remember its underside was many colors of red and orange.

She visited with my mom and dad from time to time, because she was related to them, I guess. This woman’s name was Elsie Flood, and she was an old full-blood woman. She was never married and didn’t have any children. Grandma Flood always used to carry at least one live turtle with her. Sometimes she would give them to people. I remember that sometimes she would be sitting by the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere, and we’d stop to ask her if she needed a ride. She would usually say, “No, I must sit with my turtle friend a little longer.”

Grandma Flood was well respected by the older people. She used to wear turtle things on her person, like a turtle-print dress or a little turtle pin. My older sister remembers that she came shortly before my younger sister was born; I wonder if that had something to do with it. I was born nine years after my sister.”

Mary Crow Dog, a Lakota writer from near Mission, on the Rosebud Reservation, remembered Mrs. Flood as well: “I loved to visit Aunt Elise Flood to listen to her stories. With her high cheekbones, she looked like Grandma. She had a voice like water bubbling, talking with a deep, throaty sound. And she talked fast, mixing Indian and English together. I had to pay strict attention if I wanted to understand what she told me. She always paid her bills, earning a living by her arts and crafts, her beautiful work with beads and porcupine quills….

She was also a medicine woman. She was an old-time woman, carrying her pack [medicine bundle] on her back. She would not let a man or younger woman carry her burden. She carried it herself, being proud of her turtle medicine. She used turtles for her protection. Wherever she went, she always had some little live turtles with her, and all kinds of things made out of tortoiseshell, little charms and boxes….

The turtle woman was afraid of nothing. She was always hitchhiking, constantly on the road, thumbing her way from one place to the other. She was a mystery to some. The Indians held her in great respect, saying that she was “waken,” that she was some sort of holy person to whom turtles had given their powers.”

It is possible that these turtle women had power over infertility. Given the Lakota attitude toward “new generations,” a turtle dreamer would have been held in high regard. It is in a beaded or quilled turtle amulet that the dried umbilical cord of a baby girl is placed.

There is an old Lakota song that believed to be very powerful. In this cryptic poem, spirits are called upon in order, by name, and with great reverence. The rocks referred to are small, round rocks that come to the holy person and aid him or her. Each of the four directions, or winds, is separately called upon, invoking the powers and color of that direction and the specific kinds of help associated with it. Mother Earth is honored and called upon as well, the spider representing one of her most powerful spirit helpers, the legendary Iktomi. The spotted eagle is also called upon, to help communicate with Father Sky.

Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.

In the west I call a black stone friend.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.

In the north I call a red stone friend.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.

In the east I call a yellow stone friend.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.

In the south I call a white stone friend.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.

On earth, I will call a spider friend.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.

Above, I call a spotted eagle friend.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.
Friend, I will send a voice, so hear me.
-- Lakota Yuwipi song

Wallace Black Elk and William S. Lyon in their book “Black Elk: The Sacred Ways of a Lakota” address Mother Earth’s nature.
….”And the rocks, the rocks have songs. Like the rock I wear around my neck, it has a song. All the stones that are around here, each one has a language of its own. Even the Earth has a song.

We call it Mother Earth. We call her Grandmother and she has a song.” “Grandmother the Earth is asleep. At the same time she knows—she smells, tastes, feels, sees, and hears everything. The whole world is her eyes. The whole world is her ears, sense of smell, taste, and feeling. But at this time she’s asleep. So we Earth People have to poke a little hole (build a stone-people-lodge) in the Earth so she could breathe and communicate with us. Then we put the fire (hot rocks) back in there. Put those stone-people in there. Then we offer a little green (burn cedar on the hot stones), and we offer a little water (pour water on the hot stones). We always remember Tunkashila first. We always honor Tunkashila the Creator, because Grandmother and Tunkashila are one.

So I learned from the old people that those spirits that come are my relatives. They learned that from the spirit. The spirit told them, “This Chanupa is your relative. The powers of the Four Winds are your relatives. Pray to them. Talk to them. They are your relatives. Send a voice out there. These are your relatives. Look that way. These are your relatives. Look to the North, the Buffalo Nation, the White Buffalo Calf Maiden, the Chanupa, these are your relatives. To the East, the Elk Nation, Black Elk, and the Elk Nation Woman that brings joy and happiness, these are your relatives. To the South, the Swan, the two-legged spirits that bring joy and happiness, the medicine people that bring health come from there. These are your relatives. Above you is the Eagle Nation. They watch, control, govern. They control the weather. They are the true meteorologists. These are your relatives. Down to the Earth, the stone-people are your relatives. So when you go back, tell your people that these are all your relatives.” That’s what the voice said.”

“Then we built a lodge up there, and it’s time to go to the altar. There we offer a little green—cedar, sage, and sweetgrass. Then we talk about Mother Earth, and I tell him how this sweetgrass is Mother Earth’s hair. It is a perfume. When my grandma’s spirit comes she carries that smell, that perfume, and you can smell it. That’s why we use the sweetgrass as a prayer at the altar.

Thank you Cinnamon Moon for sharing and giving so much energy in your writing for Mother Earth. It was a pleasure to read this with my coffee this morning. I ate fresh root food this morning I pulled myself! Yes, I still have horse radishes! I have been painting gourds that I (we) grew this summer...my first one was painted a falling star and a full moon in the nights sky. It is my favorite. I was preparing some water to take to the naming ceremony for the White Buffalo Calf close by and choose a gourd to carry this water in....I did a bit of prayer before I opened its top and when I did smoke came out of the gourd, its prayer went into the sky, its seeds fell to the ground and then ashes went everywhere. The gourds, the Earth, the Wombs and fertilization everywhere. As I poured the water on the ground where the Calf lives my body shook like an Earthquake. I do suddenly wonder if Mother Earths escalated activity doesn’t have something to do with Her feeling of reverence to us Daughters answering Her call? I can almost always see a mirror with my own body and hers. I had a great upheaval this past week...lots of movement inside of me, but it all was about healing. She called me too and I answered. Her love is a very mature feeling love. One of the biggest things that She showed me was of life and death. Life and death live together in perfect harmony. Death holds up life and life holds up death. It was after a time hard to distinguish the two from each other. You helping others to pass over....is, I feel, a total letting go of yourself, in order to be of service? I am visiting a web site today that sells seeds and plants... I miss my hands being out of the dirt in this season. I have a lack of faith that Western Society will ever again embrace the Feminine. I don’t know where this will go. To hunt and gather naturally seems to be looked down upon and society is dependent on slave meats and chemical produce. If am out when the farmers here are spraying their fields it will burn my skin......I put the horses away for the days that they are doing this. I just keep seeing us going further and further away. Though, not me. I hunger for Mother Earth and for me today to eat a root vegetable I pulled myself this morning makes me feel right. And, I appreciate you talking about the feminine in the sensual way.....there feels to me there is much, much, much (magic?) in that. When I had a dream of my and hubby naked and smearing mud on each other I knew then we were on the right path. Mother Earth too, I must say has a WONDERFUL sense of humor as well. Mud is the most playful thing I feel there is. Walking and losing a boot in the mud. Slipping and falling into her wetness......the best thing to do is laugh and then play. Waking up and going to see the horses covered head to hoof in mud and them waiting and hoping to hear laughter from me. Mud...is Her invitation to play below the surface. My friend Howard that comes here some can smell mud. The scent of a woman.....LOL! I have buried literally my DNA under a pecan tree in our front field. It felt so right. Well, I just really appreciate your time and energy on Mother Earth this morning.

Thanks again Cinnamon Moon.

Greetings! It was the part about Turtles that took me into dreams. Unfortunately they were decaying and homes were falling apart by the shore. But I did join a prayer circle in dream time and it felt right. Yes, very informative article, as always. Were you finished? Or is there more to come?

Hi Karen and StarBearWalking, I'm pleased you enjoyed the article. Mother Earth was strong with me and I just felt she needed to be honored. Karen, you're honoring her in your own way, showing your love and the fun in the mud...oh I love mud too. LOL And I love dancing in the rain that makes it! It's wonderful that you're honoring the White Buffalo Calf, well done! I saw Miracle twice before she Dropped Robe. Both experiences were something I will never forget, and a tuft of her fur sits within the pouch hanging from my Prayer Staff...a gift she gave me that was so precious. What have they given as a name to the Calf? And what a lovely way to show you that your prayer went up to Spirit.

“I do suddenly wonder if Mother Earths escalated activity doesn’t have something to do with Her feeling of reverence to us Daughters answering Her call?”

Possibly, I see it as her way of waking up and calling to us. *Smiles*

“She called me too and I answered.”

“You helping others to pass over....is, I feel, a total letting go of yourself, in order to be of service?”

Hmmmmm it is a willing surrender to that service but I'm not letting go, I open to it...let the process flow through me, let the Mother and Spirit work through me along with my guidance. It is rewarding work when you see the peace come into the hearts of those who are transitioning and the loved ones that share in that process. It's just amazing, and the work itself is its own reward, joy for the sake of giving. It's not without emotion and tears, you can't help but become attached to these individuals, and as you touch their life they touch yours. I learn as much from them, it's a beautiful exchange.

“I have a lack of faith that Western Society will ever again embrace the Feminine.”

And for me it's just the opposite, for decades I've watched the quiet emerging of the feminine essence in society, and I hold faith that it will continue. More and more we're becoming aware of the Mother's presence and her teachings are now coming forward. The Medicine Women have held their tongues and are now speaking out. The ways of the Mother will be presented and slowly she's re-emerging. Not just through the indigenous people, but in all traditions and in religious context too. She wears many faces, just as Spirit does, and they are showing themselves

in many ways. I keep seeing them, Grandparents walking hand in hand and smiling, as we come to our awareness that they walk side by side, completing one another and waiting for us to figure that part out. And thank you for sharing in this thread too. StarBearWalking, you said: “It was the part about Turtles that took me into dreams. Unfortunately they were decaying and homes were falling apart by the shore. But I did join a prayer circle in dream time and it felt right.”

I wonder if that didn't have something to do with the damage of the storms this past year? Perhaps restoring some of that and brining new life to these areas? It doesn't surprise me that Turtle called you into that session.

“Were you finished? Or is there more to come?”

Well, I felt the material I shared was a good start and the thread would draw forth what I'd missed. We'll see where it goes. Questions and experiences are welcome to be shared. The more the better.

Jimmy WhiteBear:
Thank you Cinn, I will spell these words Phonically: The "Cheech ga ah mich" Means the "Spirit or shadow that walks with us" "Oog sig ahmoo" means "what part of Mother earth are you from? "Niskamich is grandfather, noogamich is grandmother." Mother Earth is our mother and grandmother, Creator is our father and our grandfather. To think of Mother earth and creator as husband and wife brings the connection of "As above so below" Everywhere we step we step with the earth mother and creator together and in this sense, we walk in balance when walking with both. I cannot add anymore then Cinn has already posted here. To remain grounded and balanced is to walk in a sacred manner!

Greetings! “Well, I felt the material I shared was a good start and the thread would draw forth what I'd missed. We'll see where it goes. Questions and experiences are welcome to be shared. The more the better.”…later I realized that this is where it is going, thus my unfinished feelings.

“I wonder if that didn't have something to do with the damage of the storms this past year? Perhaps restoring some of that and brining new life to these areas? It doesn't surprise me that Turtle called you into that session.”

I believe this to be true there was a lot of debris around and over the shells. and most were in puddles or mud.

“To think of Mother earth and creator as husband and wife brings the connection of "As above so below"”

Yes, Thank you Jimmy WhiteBear, this is another way of looking at that which I had not seen before.

Cinnamon and Jimmy, Thank you both for your posts; the timing was / is perfect.

Hi Cinnamon. Medicine man, Steve, gave her the name: Medicine Heart. It's a lot prettier in the Lakota language, but that's pretty too. Think I'll check the internet and see if there's any news on how she's doing/growing. Medicine Hearts Grandfather was struck by lightening on 9/11/01. Thought that was interesting. Take care!!!

What a beautiful name she's been given! Very fitting. I'm sorry to hear about her grand-sire being struck by the lightning though. I know the prophecy speaks of the father needing to Drop Robe, I've not heard a connection to the grandfather though. Bless his spirit.

Sacred Garden:
I just saw this today. Thank you (((Cinn))) for sharing. What a beautiful tribute to Mother Earth. I needed this connection today. I loved reading, feeling, every single word.

I'm glad the article brought you a little closer to Mother, Sweetie!

Auntie, isn't it 'something' how sometimes what is right in front of us ... we allow ourselves to hide from? Mother Earth, she is there for us, waiting with open arms ... and for those like me, she waits. Being an "11th hour gal" can be quite frustrating. For me, I feel such a connection to Earth .. the beauty and security, the love she offers. I love her temperament as well. Why is it though that, say someone like Me, who 'knows' that beauty ... can totally let that escape in times of confusion? Why not find 'grounding', security .. instead of dismissing the beauty that is offered? I don't feel 'ungrateful', I am ... but in dismissing what is right in front of me, the world I live in, ... am I 'ungrateful' in a way that means most? Am I just losing the light in the confusion? I don't know. I'm sure I'll learn though. Never the less, reading this brought back my 'heart' today. I'm feeling like I'm at "square one", but feeling connected all the same. And it's good. I'm just babbling now. I'm so thankful I saw and read this today. (((Cinn)))

Awwww SG, you're so right. I like to say that Spirit hides the truth under the leaves we're walking on....right under our noses. You know she's the Great Mother, how many times as a child did you go play in the yard without a thought to your mother or grandmother in the house tending chores or even doing something for herself? Children are like that, "Mom's at home where she's supposed to be and I'm out exploring the world." and then they come home again shouting "Mom, I'm hungry, what's to eat?" And Mom is there waiting with open arms and something good on the table. Mother Earth is there for us, you are so right, and she's always waiting for her children too. It's just that we live upon her and it's so easy to get caught up in our lives day to day. Centering really helps and if you need to do that more than once a day do so. There are days I center twice (am and pm as the energy shifts) and days where I center on the hour! Centered, we walk that day remembering her and with her instead of just on her. It's easy to get caught up and sometimes take her for granted. Centering reminds us of our connectedness and serves many purposes. Try greeting the spirits on a regular daily basis and see if you aren't more aware of the guidance and spiritual interactions during the day. Each morning when I center I always add: "Please walk with me, talk with me, show me the way. Thank you for the blessings of the day." And I start my day with that focus. I do the same in the evenings. Sometimes I chant it when I'm stressing. We often take Mother Earth for granted, it happens, but we can always go home and say "Mother, I need you." and she'll be there for us. We need only center with her and listen to her heartbeat to know the nurturing love she gives us. Love her, walk with her, dance with her...be with her. It's good company no matter where you go.

Thank you, Cinnamon. This is wonderful. I like to go sit in her lap. She lets me feel anything I feel. She doesn't mind. She just lets me sit in her lap. I especially love to watch her children, the wild birds. Half-earth, Half-sky.

Hi Minna, Well from the pictures you've shared with me of her lap around your place it's a mighty nice place to sit too! That's such a nice way of putting it, feels 'grandmotherly' in a way.

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INDEX Page 1
(Divination & Dreams, Guides & Spirit Helpers)
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
(Spiritual Development)
INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
(Tools & Crafts. Copyrights)

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