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Sacred Circles


The Circle is an extremely important symbol to First Nations People.  It is sacred and represents infinity – connection – wholeness –  inclusion.  Whenever important ceremonies, meetings, gatherings or sharing occur, people meet within this sharing formation.  By facing one another, we are all equal and included in what is being said.  We listen attentively, nonjudgementally and with empathy, kindness and respect to the speaker.  Sometimes a Talking Stick is passed around for the person holding it to speak their truth and then to be passed on to the next circle member.   It is a symbol of respect for the thoughts, stories and experiences we bring to the Circle.

To show respect, we don't 'break the Circle', meaning everyone stays until the last speaker has spoken.  Circles last however long they take to a mutually satisfying conclusion. We obey the confidentiality of the Circle wherein whatever is spoken is kept private, unless there is permission given to share.

The Leader or Conductor is responsible for guiding the Circle.  It is generally begun and ended with a prayer given by an Elder, if present:

May all who enter rest in peace and safety beneath my wings
May all who leave, take with them wings of comfort
… Tsimshian Prayer

Oftentimes, a sacred object is used to give focus and intent to the purpose of the Circle which may vary from being spiritual, offering healing to ceremonial occasions or even judicial restitution.  Sacred objects include symbols of life such as water, a candle, rock, rattle, drum or  feather.  In a Healing Circle a medicine bundle may be used.  The object is placed in the centre which is regarded as an alter.  Sometimes smudging occurs in the Circle.  This is done to ‘wash away’ negative energy and cleanse the participants.  Often prayers are given asking for guidance and growth while smudging.

The purpose of our Learning Circle is to help teach us the ways and traditions, art and culture of First Nations People.  Our prayers are songs in which we are setting the intent or asking for guidance to help us learn from the knowledge and gifts the guests and presenters bring to our Learning Circle. Part of our Learning Circle is this Blogging Circle.  It’s purpose and intent is to provide the place and space where course material, assignments and submissions may be made for the work we are doing.

(To expand Circle MindMap, please click image).

Circle of Life

Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always come back where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.

… by Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

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