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Sacred Elements

AIR

“I am the Breath of Life and the male bridge between your mind and your body. I restore you to your exact self each time you take a breath. When you breathe, oxygen pours into your body cells. My breath exercises the diaphragm, and therefore the organs above and below it. Say aloud the word, “Hope”, the “H” rests on my breath. Breath is life Spirit. Hope keeps all pathways open for new possibilities & dreams. As long as you have hope, you have direction & with that, the energy to move forward. It puts you halfway to your goal of positive self-empowerment. Questions: Would you exist without me? What are some things you can do to keep me clean and healthy?

EARTH

“I am the symbol of life and Father Sky’s mate. I am your heartbeat. I am the sacred connection and universal circle of life. Honour the seven directions (East, South, West, North, Life above, below and on the Earth). I created equality all you see, so honour me, do not waste me.

A teaching: “There are birds of many colours. Yet all is one bird. There are horses of many colours. Yet all is one horse, so all living things, Animals, Flowers and Trees, so all four races, with one heart that beats. That this should last and last and everywhere there’s peace.” Questions: Do you think about me in your daily life? Do you send me healing and love? Would you exist without me? What are some of the things you could do on a regular basis to keep me healthy? Why is caring for another so important?”

The root of all Native teachings, lies in the reverence for the land. Noo Halidzoks (Mother Earth) gave the Red People a special gift of Turtle Island (North America): They were charged with the responsibility of being Caretakers of this vast land and were given much wisdom and knowledge as regards its care and preservation. As an Elder once said, “We are the environment and the environment is us. We deal with all of nature as equal members of the universal family. We go to the mountain, we go into the mountain, we become the mountain – never trying to overcome it, but always being part of its energy.”

The Legend of Turtle Island:

Turtle is considered to be the oldest, sacred symbol of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee people. They believed that North America was created on the back of a turtle. Father Sky’s wife fell through a hole in the sky, and to keep her from drowning little Muskrat managed to bring up a handful of soil from the bottom of the ocean; she placed it on Turtle’s wide back and the land immediately began to grow eventually forming North America. To this day most Indigenous peoples refer to North America as Turtle Island. (You might want to take a look at the shape of North America in an Atlas, it look just like a turtle. The feet are: Alaska, Greenland, Baha, California and Florida. The tail is the continent of South America. Top half of the shell is Canada, bottom half is the continental United States.)

The medicine of turtle is its deliberate and thorough approach to life; Turtle is also courageous because it makes progress only when it sticks its neck out, and moves forward with patient, steady flow in order to achieve the desired results.

The turtle shell, regardless of size, was also used as a calendar, with the thirteen large patterned squares counting out all the full moons of the year. The 28 small squares on the outside counted the days of each lunar month.

History:

There was a fundamental misunderstanding in the early dialogues between First Nations people and the Europeans who sought to purchase their land. The Indigenous Ancestors were mystified by such negotiations because the land was not something to be bought and sold. The land was the lifeblood of The People; its inherent sacredness lived in the souls of every member of the Red Race. It was to be kept in a good way, nourished and loved. In the words of Chief Sealth (also known as Seattle), “How can I sell what I do not own. It is only owned by that which created it in the first place.”

The rest as they say is history, as the land was then simply taken from the First Peoples, and quickly became a marketable commodity by which great riches could be gained. As humans we need to look around and inside of ourselves and learn from this. It was never the intention of Noo Halidzoks for the land to have no meaning except for what it could bring monetarily.

“we are no bigger than grains of sand. Yet everyone is so unique and so different that there are no two alike. Each little grain of sand holds its own vibration. That is the beautiful part of walking on this pathway – Nature is always speaking to us, always reconfirming, telling us to pay attention, we are here for you. Connect Nature’s gifts with humans walking the earth walk in a good way and the vibrations can change to constructive energy.”

We need to embrace Noo Halidzoks with pureness, respect, truth, love, dignity, peace and constructive energy so that together we can save what is left of her. When we walk the walk with the twin elements of knowledge and courage, (knowledge of the importance of the Land to our living world, and courage to save it), all things are possible.

FIRE

“I am the Heart of the people. Warm with me, Dance with me, Cook with me, Hear my stories. I am cleansing and renewal. Out of my ashes comes new ways of thinking and behaving, The Plant world regenerates itself. I am a brilliant glow across the spectrum, I am candles, sparkles and colour. I am warm, male and light. I am heat, change and motion. I am witches, beacons and brightness. My smoke carries my prayers to The Ancestors. I am the eternal witness in sacred ceremony. The centre of life fueled by Mother Earths tresses, the trees. Don’t you misuse me. In the heart of all people, I am passion, I am love, I am rebirth…I am fire.” Question: What are some of the safe things we could burn together on a regular basis?

For most tribes, fire symbolizes the heart of The People. It is present at all ceremonies in one form or another, from smoke in a smudge bowl or pipe carrying prayers to Great Mystery, to the blazing fire at a Sun Dance or Yaawk (Feast). Fire cleanses the spirit, it is used to heat the Grandfathers (rocks) before placing them in the pit of a sweatlodge; the smoke from the fire is used to send prayers to the Great Mystery; fire cleanses sacred items before ceremonial use (drums, shakers, pipes).

Fire represents cleansing and renewal, for out of the ashes comes new growth, new thoughts, rebirth of ideas and new ways of being; the plant world regenerates itself in a healthy way from the ashes of the old.

Fire acts as a Messenger and is a gift from the Great Mystery. A ceremonial fire should never be extinguished manually, but allowed to dance until it decides it is time to go to its sleep.

WATER

“I tumble and I roll, my waves clean your soul, I bring rain to clean the land. I breathe and you live another day indivisible as Air. I am lakes, rivers, streams and brooks, wetlands, swamps, lagoons and pools. I am watersheds, waterfalls, seas and ocean. I am liquid magic. I am clear, I am clean, I am soothing. I am ice and sleet and snow. I am darkness, thickness, waves and motion. I am cold, I am warm, I am female. I am fog, mist, and clouds. I shape the world-I shape your body-I shape the land within me. Honour me and calm your mind that you never thirst for love or life.” Questions: Would you exist without me? What are some of the things you could do on a regular basis to keep me clean and healthy?

Water has a spirit. Water floods around the boat protecting and holding your conscious and unconscious selves. It speaks to you as you swim or float in your own dreams. Water cleanses the physical body, the mind, emotions and the spirit. Tears clean the soul. Bathe in it, drink lots of it, do not take it for granted.

… from http://www.shannonthunderbird.com/symbols_and_meanings.htm

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